Aunt completes sky dive to raise funds for mental health group after the tragic death of her niece
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Janine Brown, from Simonside, South Shields helped raise more than £2,000 for PAPYRUS, the national Charity for the Prevention of Young Suicide.
As of Wednesday, June 23, she had raised £2,335 for the cause through her efforts.
Ms Brown said the sky dive, organised by a friend and carried out at a Peterlee airfield, was an unexpected surprise for her 40th birthday.
The act has provided a focal point for Ms Brown’s fundraising effort, which continues to draw in donations.
“I thought I was headed to a spa or the pub or something,” she said.
"And, two hours later, there I was jumping out of a plane. It was hideous!
"It was a 55-second free fall. And then they pull the parachute when you get to fifty-thousand feet.
"I couldn’t even think about what I was doing at that point – it was such a rush.”
The decision to donate all funds collected to PAPYRUS came after Ms Brown had learnt that her niece, Melodie, had tragically taken her life aged just 14.
Janine said she had initially planned to take on the Great North Run in order to generate momentum behind her fundraiser, before she was made aware of the sky diving plans.
“I’m down to do the Great North Run,” she said.
"But it’s quite difficult to raise a lot of money through the Great North Run, since everyone has a charity and a cause to fundraise for.
"So, once I’d been chucked out of a plane, I decided this could be a different way to raise money for the charity ahead of the run.”
She added that Melodie’s death had brought home just how much work needs to be done in the area of mental health care for young people.
"I think most people are totally oblivious to the fact that this does happen and it happens more and more often,” she said.
"It had never crossed my mind that this would happen to someone in my family – never.”