Willberry Wonder Pony fundraisers smash target despite skydive set back

  • A team of skydiving eventers and supporters have already raised more than £15,000 for Hannah Francis’ Willberry Wonder Pony charity, although most have them have not yet been able to jump.

    The 25-strong group had hoped to raise £12,000. By noon today (Thursday, 3 November), the total stood at £15,133 — more than £3,000 above their target.

    The full team had hoped to jump out of a plane on Saturday (29 October), but low cloud thwarted their plans. They will now complete their jumps in smaller groups before 17 December.

    The first to jump were the two youngest members of the team — Phemie Dillon and Lucy Hemmings, both 17.

    The pair returned to Netheravon in Wiltshire the following day to complete the challenge.

    “I didn’t know Hannah well, but I evented with her in the under-18 sections and she inspired me so much,” said Phemie.

    “I thought if she can go through what she has without complaining then I can jump out of a plane for her amazing charity Willberry Wonder Pony and continue to #kickcancersbutt! And oh my gosh it was amazing — so much fun.”

    The charity, set up by the late Hannah Francis, supports bone cancer research and granting horsey wished for those with serious illnesses.

    Hannah was 18 when she died in August. Despite having an aggressive form of bone cancer, she carried on riding, competing and inspiring others.

    Lucy added she wanted to do something that would be a “real challenge and reflect Hannah’s bravery”.

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    “Whilst going up in the plane I felt sick with nerves, but kept thinking of Hannah and how this was nothing compared to her bravery during her illness,” she said.

    “It was the best experience I’ve ever had and I’m so honoured to have been part of such a special event.”

    To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/teams/willberrrywonderponyskydive

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