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Charity skydive’s a real family affair
MUM and daughter Marcia and Danielle Shirley have never jumped out of a plane before.
But tomorrow morning they will do just that, for a very special reason.
Ten years ago, Marcia’s dad – Danielle’s granddad, Frank Fuller – killed himself, aged 65.
He was diagnosed with depression in March 2004, and took his own life that April.
Now, mother and daughter want to raise awareness and money for mental health charity Mind to help end the stigma around mental health problems.
Mrs Shirley, 46, of Bradstocks Way, Abingdon, said: “Men don’t like going to the doctor anyway, he [Mr Fuller] definitely felt he was a burden on people.
“He wasn’t given as much help as he could have been, attitudes need to change.
“It has got better in recent years with adverts on TV, but there is still a long way to go.”
Miss Shirley, 26, who lives in Sutton Courtenay and has two boys of her own, remembered her granddad as a motorbike-riding “daredevil”.
She said: “He never acted like he was an OAP.
“He loved his motorbikes and his grandkids. He was a bit of a daredevil, but he loved his family and he was a lovely man.
“I wish my children could have met him because they would have loved him too.”
Miss Shirley was just 16 when her granddad, above, a carpenter at Milton Hill House hotel near Didcot, died.
It was a couple of weeks before she sat her GCSE exams.
She said: “I had all that going on, and everybody feels like they could have done more. I didn’t know anything about mental health problems before that.
“If you don’t know anyone who has experienced it you can be quite ignorant, and assume people can snap out of it. We need to raise awareness and encourage people suffering from it to seek help.”
In the run-up to their big leap of faith, neither mum or daughter were looking forward to the plummet.
Miss Shirley will be taking a tandem jump with an instructor, but her mum is going solo.
It is not Mrs Shirley’s first fundraiser.
The year after her father died, she raised £1,000 for the Depression Alliance by riding around the M25 on a Vesper scooter for 12 hours.
Mother and daughter are hoping to raise £500 each doing the skydive.
They are also putting on a ska night at Abingdon’s Crown and Thistle hotel on Bridge Street tomorrow evening, featuring local lads Hope and Glory.
- Sponsor the skydive at memory space.mind.org.uk/mypage/ may-skydive
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