Medics fly high for Alzheimer's group in memory of grandfather Fred

Ben Clifton and Katie Smith

Ben Clifton and Katie Smith went skydiving to fundraise for Havering Singing for the Brain - Credit: Ben Clifton

Collier Row medics have braved a skydive to raise money for people with Alzheimer's. 

Ben Clifton, 32, lost his grandfather Fred Hughes to the disease and decided to fundraise for Havering Singing for the Brain, a music group for people with dementia and their carers.

The medical technician took the plunge on July 21 with paramedic girlfriend Katie Smith, 25, and the couple have already raised £1,675. 

skydive

The couple have raised over £1,500 for a group supporting dementia sufferers and their families - Credit: Ben Clifton

Ben told this paper: “It’s quite personal for me as my granddad had dementia, and I watched how it affected both him and my grandma. 

“Everyone has said he would 100 per cent be proud of us for what we have done.” 

Ben Clifton skydiving

Ben Clifton jumped out of a plane in memory of his grandfather Fred - Credit: Ben Clifton

Ben’s mother Lisa Clifton has been involved with Havering Singing for the Brain for almost 10 years, running regular singing and dancing sessions. 

“She has a complete passion for it,” Ben added. 

Most Read

"The skydive was something we both wanted to do anyway, so we thought we’d do it for them.” 

Katie added: “The groups are the best of both worlds, as it gives people something to look forward to and also gives carers some time off, which they really need.

“It made sense to raise money for Ben’s mum’s group. 

“We’re adrenaline junkies. It was absolutely incredible.” 

Ben was first to jump out of the plane with an instructor, and he explained he only began to feel nervous just before his flight. 

“I felt okay when the plane was going up, it was only when I was hanging out of the plane that it hit me.” 

Katie said: “I was terrified as I watched him, but it was absolutely amazing.” 

The Collier Row couple are looking forward to handing over the cheque to the singing group, which he said relies on donations to continue its work. 

“I can’t wait to give it to them, and I’d definitely do the jump again,” he added. 

Katie Smith skydiving

Katie said she would definitely do the skydive again - Credit: Ben Clifton

In June, Ben's mum Lisa said the group’s support offered a lifeline to people living with dementia and their families

She stressed it needed funding for the other two locations to run the musical groups and provide refreshments for dementia sufferers and their carers. 

Donations can be made here: https://gogetfunding.com/socialmusic-groups-for-people-with-dementia-and-their-carers/


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter