A RAYLEIGH woman has raised £3,700 for a local hospice after leaping thousands of feet out of an aeroplane.

Katherine Abel took to the skies and skydived 13,000 feet in a bid to raise funds for Havens Hospices, a charity close to her heart.

The hospice charity cared for Katherine’s husband, Dan, at the end of his life.

Dan was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012. He was cared for by the Fair Havens Hospice at Home team and at Fair Havens’ Westcliff base until his death in November 2016.

Katherine, 40, and her family have tried to support Havens as much as they can since.

Earlier this year, Katherine, Dan’s mother Debbie and sister Joanne organised a black tie ball event, which raised close to £10,000 for the charity.


All smiles - Katherine Abel moments before leaping out of the aeroplane

Katherine was pleased to take on her latest fundraiser.

She said: “I always wondered what a skydive might be like but I am hardly an adrenaline junkie.

“As it happened, the jump ended up taking place almost four years to the day since Dan entered the hospice.

“It was an incredible experience. I was chatting with my instructor on the way up about the importance of really living life to the full and how my perspective has changed since losing Dan.


“I want to take every opportunity that comes my way and encourage my children, now aged 14, 12 and eight, to do the same – although I’m sure they thought I was slightly mad taking on this challenge. I loved every second of it, and would love the chance to go again.

“It did make me chuckle at the thought of Dan knowing I was doing it because he absolutely hated heights and would barely climb a ladder!”

The funds Katherine has raised will help Havens to keep providing palliative nursing and supportive care to adults, young people and children living with complex or incurable conditions across Essex.


Adrenaline - Katherine took on the skydive in memory of her husband Dan

Katherine remains thankful to Havens for how they cared for Dan.

She added: “As soon as Havens were involved, it was a huge relief for me as managing his care as well as looking after the children was impossible.

“The carers were amazing, always treating Dan with kindness and dignity.

“When we thought the end was near, we were so fortunate that a bed was available at the hospice in Westcliff and although it was obviously a terrible time, it was the right decision for our family.

“He had the best medical and nursing care and Havens allowed us to create some precious memories with Dan.”

Every week we will be unveiling our Charity Champions as we look to champion those who raise much-needed funds for charities across south Essex. To nominate yourself for your own fundraising work or to put others forward, simply complete our online form.