Hartlepool mum’s daredevil parachute jump to boost Alfie Smith’s walking fund

Joanne Fox takes to the skies for Alfie Smith
Joanne Fox takes to the skies for Alfie Smith

A Hartlepool mum took to the skies to raise vital cash for a youngster who has set his heart on one day walking painfree and unaided.

Joanne Fox was touched by the plight of nine-year-old Alfie Smith that she embarked on a daredevil feat of jumping out of a plane.

Joanne Fox ahead of her tandem jump

Joanne Fox ahead of her tandem jump

The youngster, who has cerebral palsy, has undergone a life-changing operation at Leeds General Hospital after fundraising efforts helped to secure the minimum amount needed.

However, the Throston School pupil still has a long way to go before it is hoped he will eventually fulfil his walking dream.

The mum-of-two from Bishop Cuthbert, took to the skies on Sunday, March 5, after her previous jump date was cancelled due to bad weather.

The tandem skydive of 15,000ft was undertaken at Peterlee Skydiving Centre.

It was the most bizarre experience ever. I was told the views would be fantastic and they were - the North East coast is something else.

Joanne Fox

Mrs Fox, whose daughter Lillie, nine, goes to school with Alfie, said: “I was really nervous on the day. After we did our training, we were told we wouldn’t be able to go up because of the weather.

“I don’t know what changed as the next day, I went up to the skydive centre and I was totally fine.

“It was quite early in the morning and Annie had brought Alfie and Alex down to see me, which was really nice of her to do.

“It was the most bizarre experience ever. I was told the views would be fantastic and they were - the North East coast is something else.”

Joanne Fox with Alfie Smith

Joanne Fox with Alfie Smith

She added: “The whole thing from start to finish was amazing.

“I really enjoyed it, I didn’t think I would, it was as cold more than anything.

“It was an incredible experience.

“We had the jump videoed. Normally, there is a fee, but Andy who filmed the jump said he would donate the money to Alfie’s fund instead, but when he transferred the money, he donated £50 instead.

“Everyone at the centre was lovely and they also made it really special for Alfie also by bringing him out on one of the quads to see me after I landed.”

Mrs Fox had hoped to raise £1,000 for Alfie but smashed the target before her feet left the ground. She managed to raise £2,700.

She added: “The amount that has been raised is phenomenal, I’m so pleased with how much I’ve managed to raise.

“The response from people after watching the video has been great.

“I set myself a target of raising £1,000 but I have managed to raise £2,700.

“It’s just fantastic and I can’t thank people enough for their generosity.”