Royston teenager to take on charity skydive after nan suffers three strokes

PUBLISHED: 14:42 11 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 11 February 2018

Rhyia Clarke from Royston is doing a skydive for the Stroke Association. Picture: Rhyia Clarke

Rhyia Clarke from Royston is doing a skydive for the Stroke Association. Picture: Rhyia Clarke

Archant

A 17-year-old from Royston is set to jump out of a plane at 13,000ft to raise funds for the Stroke Association – after her nan suffered debilitating strokes herself.

Rhyia Clarke's nan Diane Littlewood has suffered three strokes in the past three years. Picture: Courtesy of Rhyia ClarkeRhyia Clarke's nan Diane Littlewood has suffered three strokes in the past three years. Picture: Courtesy of Rhyia Clarke

Rhyia Clark, a former Bassingbourn Village College student, had decided to do a charity skydive after her nan Diane Littlewood has suffered three serious strokes within the last three years.

Rhyia – who is studying English, graphic design and sociology at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge – is very close to her nan, who she grew up alongside when her family lived in Spain and describes as her “best friend”.

The family returned to the UK with Diane remaining abroad until her first stroke – which left her in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

After leaving hospital, the 74-year-old lived with her family in Royston and also received rehabilitation at the town’s Richard Cox House.

Diane, who attended the Royston Speak Out Stroke Club when she was well enough, then experienced a further two strokes that were even more serious than the first.

She is currently being cared for at St Catherine’s nursing home in Letchworth, where her family are regular visitors.

Granddaughter Rhyia told the Crow: “She cannot talk, eat, walk, or stretch a smile now.

“My family and I visit her 24/7 not knowing whether she can see us, hear us, or has any knowledge we are there. This breaks our hearts, and I want to do something to help so that no other families have to suffer what we have been.

“When we lived in Spain we spent nearly every day together and she was like a second mum to me. She was the kindest, caring and funniest woman who ran around helping everyone else.”

Rhyia will be carrying out her skydive in Peterborough on May 26, and originally set herself a fundraising target of £800 – although as she nears her goal she is now hoping to reach the £1,000 mark.

Donations to the Stroke Association will help change the lives of stroke survivors by funding vital services and life-saving research.

Visit www.gofundme.com/rhyiasjump to donate. To find out more about the Royston Speak Out Stroke Club, which meets every Wednesday at The Old Barn in Upper King Street, email speakoutstrokeclub@gmail.com or see www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support.

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