Ottery skydiving pensioner raises £22,000 for Force

PUBLISHED: 12:03 05 January 2018

John Hounsell,Ruth Burrow and Carol Hounsell with their Force sky diving team cheque. Ref sho 01 18TI 5948. Picture: Terry Ife

John Hounsell,Ruth Burrow and Carol Hounsell with their Force sky diving team cheque. Ref sho 01 18TI 5948. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Ottery pensioner turned skydiver has raised more than £22,000 for an Exeter cancer charity through a series of fundraisers.

John Hounsell looking back at a picture of the Force sky diving team. Ref sho 01 18TI 5940. Picture: Terry IfeJohn Hounsell looking back at a picture of the Force sky diving team. Ref sho 01 18TI 5940. Picture: Terry Ife

Daredevil John Hounsell announced his challenge back in March, when he aimed to rally 29 people to join him to jump from 15,000 feet in June to mark Force’s 30th anniversary.

The 75-year-old, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015, was joined by 24 people from across the country - but faced several delays due to the weather.

John, a grandfather of three, said: “We didn’t really have a figure in mind but I hoped about £10,000. I didn’t really know where it was going to go or how many people were going to do it, so that’s why we called it ‘reach for the sky’ - because that was where we were aiming.

“It all started out in a small way but with the wonderful help from the other 24 skydivers who signed up, I have to say the experience was definitely something else.

“It was well worth the effort and delays to get this done, the skydivers raised money in their own way and this came to a lot.

“I myself did not expect to reach this kind of money. I was lost for words to say the least.”

The agricultural services engineer also organised street collections and received donations from businesses, individuals and groups holding sponsored head shaves, race nights, farm sales and a zipwire events.

John added: “I see this whole event as a great success because of everyone’s support.

“I couldn’t have done it without all the help from the brilliant people out there.”

Sarah Daniels, from Exeter-based Force, said: “What John has achieved is absolutely incredible and we are so grateful to him and his supporters.

“Force relies completely on good will and donations to fund vital support services, local research and purchase equipment to improve treatment.

“The determination people show in raising funds for Force never ceases to amaze us along with the generosity of their friends, families and local communities in support of their activities.

“We are able to provide the services we do here in Devon because families and friends like the Hounsells give so much of their time, energy and money into helping us ensure support for local people affected by cancer.”


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