Skydive in mum’s memory raises £4,619 for ‘truly amazing’ hospice

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DARING duo Nicola Ringland and Beth Woods took part in a charity skydive recently and raised an amazing £4,619.64 for the Southern Area Hospice.

The plucky pair poignantly took on the fundraiser in memory of Nicola’s mum, Paula Dougan, who sadly passed away in October last year after a brave cancer battle.

Paula spent her final two weeks in Newry hospice, where she was compassionately cared for by the “truly amazing” staff.

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The skydive was Nicola’s way of saying ‘thank you’ and giving something back.

N​icola and Beth present the cheque to James McCaffrey, Southern Area Hospice Fundraising Officer.N​icola and Beth present the cheque to James McCaffrey, Southern Area Hospice Fundraising Officer.
N​icola and Beth present the cheque to James McCaffrey, Southern Area Hospice Fundraising Officer.

Speaking about the care her loved one received, Nicola recalled: “The staff in there are on a different level. Every single member of staff is truly amazing.

“After mum passed, I just wanted to give something back to them. They need so much fundraising to keep that place going.

“So, I will continue to do what I can. And I will never forget the care they gave mum.”

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When Beth found out that Nicola had signed up for the hospice skydive, she jumped at the chance too!

The daring duo ready for their charity skydive in aid of the Southern Area Hospice.The daring duo ready for their charity skydive in aid of the Southern Area Hospice.
The daring duo ready for their charity skydive in aid of the Southern Area Hospice.

“She rang me straight away to see if she could do it! I was absolutely over the moon that I had someone to share the experience with - and no better woman for the job.”

The charity challenge took place at Skydive Ireland in Garvagh on June 24. Nicola explained: “The guys up there were brilliant! They made it so enjoyable. We had such a good laugh!

“When we got there, we were told we were only booked in to do a 10,000 feet jump! So, we paid the extra to go to 15,000 feet!

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“On the way up the road, I was so nervous, Beth kept laughing at me! The closer we got to the skydive centre, Beth's nerves kicked in. Then I was the one laughing!

“It was very strange, because I had been a wreck for weeks. Every time someone mentioned it, my stomach churned.

“But when we got there all those nerves disappeared. I think we both grinned from ear to ear the whole time. The pictures and videos we got were absolutely fantastic!”

Nicola summed up the experience as “absolutely unbelievable!”

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“It is so hard to put into words! When we were going up through the clouds, one of the guys said ‘that's us at 8,000 feet’. I looked at Beth and said in a terrified voice ‘holy smokes, we have nearly the same to go again!’

“When I was at the edge of the plane ready to go, I just kept smiling! I never even thought about what was actually happening. It was such a fantastic experience. “When you are free falling, you don't notice what is going on as it all happens so fast. But when he opens the shoot and you gather yourself, you can see the whole world!

“We would both definitely do it again.”

Speaking about the close bond between the pair, Nicola explained: “Beth and I are a chosen family! Beth's mum, Karen, and I have been best friends our whole lives.

“So, I am auntie Nicola to Beth and her brothers and sister!

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“I live in Donaghcloney and I work for Mar-Train Heavy Haulage in Lisburn. My boss and my work colleagues were so understanding throughout mum being ill.

“I went to every appointment with mum and took a lot of time out, and it was never questioned and for that I am forever grateful.

“Beth lives in Glasker and works for JMK Quads.”

The fantastic total of £4,619.64 was generated through various fundraisers, which received superb support.

“Beth and I both set up Go Fund Me pages. I was to hold a charity golf day this month, but it has been a very hard year and my heart was not in it. I have put it off until next year, so I can put my all into it.

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“As for Beth, I have no words to describe this wee woman. She has been truly amazing through all this.

“Beth held a Hack & Snack, pub quiz and raffled a signed Ulster Rugby shirt. I would never have raised anywhere close to this amount if it wasn't for her dedication.

“We would both like to thank our families and friends for all their support. And to each and every person who donated, attended fundraisers or bought raffle tickets. We are both truly grateful.

“We would also like to thank James from the hospice and the staff at Skydive Ireland for making it all happen for us.”

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Nicola added: “Personally, I would like to thank my family and friends who have been there from the very start of this journey.

“Especially our auntie Anita, who never left our sides. And a big thank you to all the staff in the Ulster Hospital who cared for mum too.”

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