“It was amazing, it was absolutely amazing, the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life!” said great-grandmother, Gladys, who lives between Honeybourne and Mickleton.

Only 4ft 10ins tall, the diminutive 69-year-old was at the hospice last year when the group of people she was with were asked if anyone wanted to take part in the sponsored skydive.

The hospice have held two skydives to mark their 15th anniversary and the total money raised is now touching £15,000.

“Without any signs from my head, my arm went up,” laughed Gladys.

“Then I was motivated because my oldest son said, ‘I’ll sponsor you not to do it’.”

“I think she’s nuts,” said 47-year-old Wayne, who, Gladys pointed out, builds and races drag cars that can travel nearly 180mph.

After struggling to get into the plane Gladys was strapped to her skydiving partner, Ed.

“I couldn’t actually get in ’cos my legs are so short, I had two crates, and even then I had to have a shove,” she said.

“Suddenly the door opens and you’re sliding towards the door and then you’re out.

“It’s a bit of a shock when you fall out because you’re quite cold and its windy.”

“I did have one eye shut but I didn’t scream,” she promised. “Then, you have a little jolt for the parachute and he says ‘now you can relax’.”

It was then she opened both of her eyes. “The view was absolutely amazing, it was a beautiful day, blue sky, it was perfect.”

Gladys gets ready in her red jumpsuit.

Gladys gets ready in her red jumpsuit.

 

Gladys’s husband Ray was diagnosed with meta-static melanoma a few years ago and the couple were told there was no treatment.

He didn’t want to go to the hospice, so they brought the hospice to him.

“I would not have managed without them, because he had lots of operations,” said Gladys.

“They didn’t just look after Ray, they looked after me.”

Ray passed away three years ago, but Gladys continued to go to the hospice once a week to see other widows, widowers, and carers.

Her skydive raised £1,800 for the hospice.

Pearl, who lives in Norton Lindsey, raised £1,300 in memory of husband Brian, who died in February aged 84.

Pearl Tustain, 72, did the skydive with Gladys.

Pearl Tustain, 72, did the skydive with Gladys.

 

Rather than take up the hospice’s time, Gladys and her friends have made a breakaway group called ‘The Breakaways’.

“We now meet up once a month at the Food of Love café in Stratford,” she explained.

“There’s 12 or 14 of us, we all met at the hospice, either bereaving or carers,and we’ve just remained friends.”

Gladys and Pearl did the skydive in May, but the hospice has only now counted up the money after a second skydive earlier this month.

Fifteen people took part in this jump, which was for local businesses.

Staff from Johnsons Coaches in Henley, Alcester design company CaB studios, Cooper Solutions, in Barford, and Richard O’Dwyer from Guy Salmon Land Rover all took part.

John Johnson, 54, commercial director of Johnsons Coaches, raised £1,500 with his son Richard, 26, and daughter Sarah, 24.

 

John Johnson, from Johnson Coaches, with his children Richard and Sarah. All three took part in the skydive in Hinton to raise money for The Shakespeare Hospice

John Johnson, from Johnson Coaches, with his children Richard and Sarah. All three took part in the skydive in Hinton to raise money for The Shakespeare Hospice

John Johnson in the air with his skydiving instructor and Seemore the Seagull, the coach company's mascot.

John Johnson, 54, in the air with his skydiving instructor and Seemore the Seagull, the coach company’s mascot.

Sarah Johnson in the air with her jump buddy.

Sarah Johnson, 24, in the air with her jump buddy.