‘I still can’t believe I did it’ – Royston woman completes skydive for Niemann Pick sufferer Hollie

Paula with Hollie at the skydive event.

Paula with Hollie at the skydive event. - Credit: Archant

A Royston woman fearlessly tackled a skydive for a charity that helps young children with a rare disease which causes neurological decline and dementia.

Paula took to the sky for the Hope for Hollie Foundation.

Paula took to the sky for the Hope for Hollie Foundation. - Credit: Archant

Paula Smith, who works at The Boars Head in Market Hill, completed the skydive for Hope for Hollie Foundation, a charity inspired by family friend Hollie Carter – one of the few young people in the world who have rare disease Niemann Pick type C.

Speaking after the skydive, which saw her and fellow fundraisers drum up about £5,000 in total for the charity, she said: “It was fantastic to see Hollie there, to see how much support she and other children with Niemann Pick type C are getting.

“I didn’t expect to raise this amount and hope that it makes a difference.

“All in all, I am proud of what we have achieved and the level of awareness we have raised.

“I would like to thank everyone who sponsored me and supported me through the fundraiser.

“I would also like to thank Helen Carter, Dana Smith and the other trustees, without whom such fundraisers wouldn’t happen.”

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Strangely, Paula didn’t feel nervous about the jump, just excited.

“After a briefing and some waiting time, it was our time to meet our trainer and get geared up”, she said.

“Going up in the plane was great, watching as the ground got further away and climbing high above the clouds. The free fall gave such a weird feeling as we plummeted to the ground – but soon the cord was pulled and we made our way down, spinning a few times on the journey.

“Despite times of dark cloud and rain, our group still managed to do the jump with no problem and had a great time raising money for the charity. I am very please that I made the jump – although I still can’t believe I did it.”

Niemann Pick type C is an extremely rare genetic condition, for which there is currently no cure.

Less than 50 children have this condition in the UK and around 1,000 young people suffer from it worldwide.

Paula, who studied events management at Brighton University, raised about £650 through her fundraising page and a live music night featuring local band Georgia Nevada, which she held at The Boars Head.

You can still sponsor Paula by searching ‘Paula’s Hope for Hollie skydive 2016’ on JustGiving.com.

To find out more about the charity, which helps fund research and support for children with Niemann Pick type C, visit the website at hopeforhollie.co.uk.