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Reporter overcomes fear of flying for charity skydive

A trainee reporter overcame a fear of flying to carry out a skydive to raise funds for her newspaper’s adopted charity.

Gemma Ellis from the Daventry Express raised more than £500 for Jago Worrall Foundation which was set up to support a two-year-old boy, who suffered severe brain damage after nearly drowning in a pond last year.

She undertook the challenge with nine other local people at Hinton Airfield in Oxfordshire and they raised more than £2,500 between them after skydiving 12,500ft from an aeroplane.

The paper, which is known to readers as the Gusher, has raised more than £6,000 for the foundation so far through donations and organised events after adopting it as its charity for the year.

Gemma carries out the tandem skydive.

Gemma said: “I really don’t like flying and that was actually the bit I was most worried about. When it came to throwing myself out of the plane I was a lot calmer than expected but I think that had a lot to do with the cause and how generous everyone had been in sponsoring me.

“I had a job to do so I did it and when I got to the bottom I wanted to do it all over again – it was an amazing experience!

“I was in freefall for around 45 seconds and when the chute went up it was calm and much quieter. The instructor let me have a go at steering which was just brilliant.”

The foundation aims to support Jago with his care and specialist treatment and events held to raise funds include a quiz night and charity cinema screening, while there is also a golf day and a festive charity gala being planned.

Deputy editor Amanda Chalmers said: “We have worked hard at the Gusher this year to make a success of this charity campaign, but you could now argue that none have shown more commitment to the cause than Gemma.

“This latest contribution has seen an absolutely fantastic effort on behalf of the foundation, and we are all very proud of our girl for overcoming her own personal fears to do it.”