A grandmother of six from Shropshire is celebrating her 70th birthday in a wonderfully unconventional way later this month, by jumping from a plane in a sponsored skydive.

Anne, who lives in Wellington, is taking on this brave challenge to raise money for Hft, the learning disability charity that supports her nephew Thomas.

The retired library assistant said she wanted to mark her milestone birthday by doing something out of her comfort zone. She also wanted to do something that would benefit other people, and hit upon the idea of fundraising on behalf of her nephew who has Down’s Syndrome.

Anne chose the charity Hft in recognition of the care that Thomas receives at their residential service in Shropshire, where adults with learning disabilities are supported to live the best life possible. With World Down’s Syndrome day taking place on 21 March, the timing was perfect to highlight and fundraise for such a charity.

Anne said she feels privileged that she has the opportunity to take part in such an amazing experience, recognising how opportunities can be limited for those with disabilities. “I have absolute admiration for all that my brother and sister in law have fought to achieve for Thomas. There is such a contrast between his life and that of my own son, who is just six months older.”

All money raised will go towards two Hft initiatives chosen by Anne. These are the Family Carer Support Service (FCSS), a free national service providing support and resources for family carers who have a relative with a learning disability, and Hft’s friendship and relationship service Luv2MeetU, which runs a range of social events and activities for people with autism or learning disabilities, helping to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Anne will make the tandem skydive from 10,000 feet at Tilstock Airfield in Whitchurch on 31 March, freefalling for the first 5,000 feet before the parachute opens.

“On the day of the skydive I think I will feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension”, she said. “My philosophy is; the chap I’m strapped onto will want to get himself down to earth in one piece!”

To support Anne’s challenge, please visit her fundraising page here:

Anne Howse is fundraising for Hft (justgiving.com)

To learn more about Hft and the services they provide, please visit www.hft.org.uk