A Herefordshire funeral director skydived from 13,500ft to fundraise for his local hospice with a group of bikers, who have raised over £600,000 for the hospice to date.
The Hospice Angels was founded by Mike Pullin in 2003 and has carried out a number of sponsored motorcycle rides for St Michael’s Hospice, including across Sweden and India. This is in addition to 10 sponsored skydives through its subgroup the Flying Angels.
Justin Hydes, funeral arranger at Dawe Brothers Funeral Directors in Ledbury, said: “I met Mike through my brother-in-law, whose mother was cared for exceptionally well at St Michael’s Hospice before she passed away.
“After learning about the incredible amount of funds the Hospice Angels have raised for St Michael’s over the years, I wanted to get involved as much as I could. This therefore marks my second skydive with the Flying Angels.”
Hydes helped raise over £2,500 for St Michael’s when he, Pullin and the rest of the Flying Angels took to the skies in 2019 and fell from 13,000ft.
In 2020 his mother, Brenda, was cared for by St Michael’s in her home before she passed away, despite the pressures of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added: “I, my father and my sister will always be grateful for all of the support St Michael’s have provided and continue to provide. This next skydive was therefore in memory of mum.”
The group raised more than £18,870 for its 2021 skydive, with Hydes also raising £300 for Dream Your Future, which provides counselling and mental health support for parents of schoolchildren.
Hydes said: “In addition to Mike handing out sponsorship forms to Herefordshire residents, Funeral Partners was kind enough to design posters for us to place around Dawe Brothers. These had QR codes that people could easily scan with their phones and find the MuchLoved donation page through.
“The combined effort must have made a difference, as I never would have dreamed that we’d raise nearly £20,000. The actual skydive is very liberating and peaceful, even during the 45 seconds of freefalling from such an incredible height.”
Pullin added: “I became friends with Justin just after I moved to Ledbury about two and a half years ago. Since then, Dawe Brothers has been kind enough to offer their premises as a place for us to set up table sales and raise money for St Michael’s.
“Fundraising with Justin has been a real eye-opener. Being in the funeral profession, he sees first-hand the comfort that St Michael’s brings to families and their loved ones, and he’s always coming up with ideas to help the Hospice Angels raise more money.”