New mum skydives as thank you for place to stay when baby Charlie was in Brighton hospital
Clare Kingsley, from Westerham, Kent, spent five months looking after young Charlie in hospital when he was born prematurely at 26 weeks. The little lad had to fight a number of complications - and obviously inherited positive survival instincts from his mum, as he is now eight months old and thriving.
Clare was stressed and ‘lost’ until she was referred to Ronald McDonald House Brighton which provided her with free ‘home away from home’ accommodation just a few moments away from the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex Country Hospital – a specialist department for the care of premature and sick newborn babies.
To say thank-you and to let more families know about the House in their time of need, Clare took on a skydive on Saturday 14 May to raise funds for the House.
Charlie’s dad, Gareth, knew that this was something Clare had always wanted to do so he gave it to her as a Christmas present and joined her for the fall.
Clare used this as an opportunity to raise money for the House and is delighted to have succeeded her target of a magnificent £2,000 with more money to come in.
Clare, commenting on her first skydive at Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire; says; “I was pretty calm at first until the last minute before jumping. There was some turbulence and it panicked me. The next moment I was in the air. I am glad I have done it. Not enough people know about the Ronald McDonald Houses next to hospitals and I wanted to raise awareness of them.”
Sally Gabriel, House Manager of Ronald McDonald House Brighton, says; “Clare had a lot to cope with; a new mum with a lot of stress. Travelling door to door from her home could have taken two hours each way so staying here allowed her to keep watch over Charlie, while being able to relax between visits. Later on during her stay, our dedicated staff encouraged her to share her experience and help other new mothers.
“Last year we were able to welcome 264 families to stay for as long as needed and our communal rooms such as a lounge, dining area and kitchen makes for a supportive environment where families can interact.”
There are 14 Ronald McDonald House across the UK, currently supporting over 7,000 families a year with children in hospital. The charity relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers like Clare to continue its work.
To find out more about Ronald McDonald House Charities and how to support the charity in other ways, visit: www.rmhc.org.uk
For further information please contact:
Patricia Orr, Third Sector PR
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Notes to editors
1. Please make contact through the details above if you would like anything more..
2. Ronald McDonald House Brighton is run by Ronald McDonald House Charities - an independent charity that provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at hospitals across the UK. It enables seriously ill children to have their families close by when they are undergoing treatment and allows them to maintain a degree of normal family life.
To date there are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK and in 2015 they helped support over 7,000 families with children in hospital.
The original Ronald McDonald House Brighton opened its doors to families in April of 1999 and was relocated to a new site in 2007. The new House has eight en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, a dining area, a kitchen, a laundry and a small patio garden. Ronald McDonald House Charities has also invested £300,000 to open a further 10 en-suite bedrooms on the top floor of the children’s hospital – meaning it can now offer 18 en-suite rooms to families in need
Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers, including McDonald’s customers, without whom it would be unable to continue its work.
The charity was founded in 1989 and has been keeping families together for more than 25 years.