Upperlands pensioner raises £5000 for charity with parachute jump in memory of wife

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When the MAIL first covered the story on David Rowe’s plans to do a parachute jump for charity, the response was decidedly mixed, with some thinking him ‘not wise’ and others wishing him every success.

The Upperlands pensioner seen it as something positive to do in his wife Averil’s memory, as he raised over £5000 for Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke.

He said, “If it helps someone else, I’ll be happy” and it’s safe to say this money will help the charity enormously.

David spoke of what it was like for his wife and after watching her go through it he says, “if it helps other people in the same predicament, I’ll give them, every penny I get.”

David’s wife Averil passed away, on January 27 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) lympocemia on the lungs.

“I saw her going out to the clothes line, coming back in and grasping for breath over the sink. When you can’t breathe its awful”.

Averil attended the respiratory support service provided by Northern Ireland, Chest, Heart and Stroke (NICHS) in Magherafelt Hospital every week.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airlow obstruction.

Typical symptoms of COPD include increasing breathlessness when active, a persistent cough with phlegm and frequent chest infections.

On the parachute jump itself, Davy described it as being “absolutely gorgeous, the view was amazing, I could see for miles.”

“My feets back on the ground now”, he laughs.

“It was booked for the 5th of September, but Maggie rang me on Saturday (August 23) and asked if I could be down in half an hour. I just threw the old clothes off and got down as soon as I could.”

Davy was very well supported, “the instructor said to me, you may wave at your fans and I looked down, there was so many people came out to see me.”

When asked what his wife Averil would have thought about his parachute jump, Davy says, “she would have thought I was mad, she was always telling me I was mad, so I don’t think that would have changed but she would have supported me”.

He says, “hand on heart, I’d do it again but with so many charities out there, it’s hard to go asking to do it again.
“This one was close to my heart, and if my wife hadn’t of passed away I might never have done it, but I hope the money goes to help someone.

“I’ve raised around £5000, but I’m still open to offers and donations, I want to keep it going for as long as possible”, he continued.

Visit David’s Just Giving page online to donate safely and securely at https://www.justgiving.com/David-Rowe4