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Dementia jump is something to chute about

11 April 2016


Lawrence Collin, an elected public governor for Southend University Hospital, had been pondering the ups and (mostly) downs of doing a skydive for a while.

He finally jumped at the chance as his daughter, Vicky, was doing it at the same time and he was able to raise money for the hospital's dementia unit. He was just one of six intrepid jumpers for the Southend Hospital Charity.

Laurence explained how he felt once those doors of the plane opened at 13,000 feet up in the air. He said: "The ground and thirteen thousand feet of cold air beckoned below. I was now sitting on the edge, head back, with arms folded across my chest towards the opposite shoulders, as instructed. Suddenly we were gone! Hurtling downwards it at well over a hundred miles an hour, I felt how insane this was. It was very cold and I concentrated on breathing, which, apparently, some people find difficult. Then, all of a sudden, the photographer was there alongside me, offering me a thumbs up sign. I found this gesture very heart-warming.

"We touched down all was reunited with my daughter. All was well, we had both survived, were highly elated, but also hugely relieved! And - together - we had raised nearly two thousand pounds for Southend Hospital, myself for their Dementia Appeal and Vicky for the Keyhole Cancer Appeal."

If raising money for the Dementia Appeal by chucking yourself out of a plane isn't your cup of tea, then perhaps an actual cup of tea and cake is more up your street, or should that be lane as there will be a Memory Lane Afternoon Tea at the Roslin Beach Hotel on Thursday 21 April at 3pm, priced at £17.95. To book call 01702 385337.

Talented local singer, Marilena Gant, has kindly offered to provide entertainment and alongside the delicious food we will also be treating guests to a selection of historic displays and memorabilia from Southend's by-gone days.

In the UK there are 800,000 people living with dementia and this is expected to rise to 1,000,000 by 2021. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia and 16.7% of the Southend population are over 65.

Elise Fleetwood, events & corporate relations manager for Southend Hospital Charity, said: "The hospital already offer a wide range of services for patients with Dementia including inpatient wards, a dedicated memory clinic and a dementia befriending scheme run by volunteers but we would like to enhance our facilities, services and level of support by raising £100,000 to fund multiple projects to help support patients with dementia and make their time spent in hospital more enjoyable."