Council chief takes plunge for charity

As chief executive of Norwich City Council, Laura McGillivray is no stranger to facing challenges head-on.But yesterday, the mother-of-two faced one of her scariest tasks yet - throwing herself out of a plane 10,000ft above Norfolk.

As chief executive of Norwich City Council, Laura McGillivray is no stranger to facing challenges head-on.

But yesterday, the mother-of-two faced one of her scariest tasks yet - throwing herself out of a plane 10,000ft above Norfolk.

Ms McGillivray, John Jones, the council's head of legal and democratic services, and Norwich city councillor Carl Mayhew completed a tandem skydive at Old Buckenham airfield, near Attleborough, to raise money for Norfolk-based charity Break.

The event was organised after former lord mayor Felicity Hartley asked for volunteers to skydive for her charity.

Speaking after the jump, Ms McGillivray, 53, said: “It was an absolutely amazing experience and we were doing it for such a good cause. I was quite nervous but I just tried not to think about it. It was over so quickly there was no time to be frightened.”

Ms McGillivray said the trio had raised more than £2000 for the charity through sponsorship. She added: “We were quite lucky the jump went ahead because the cloud was coming down quickly. But suddenly we were up in the plane and then we were freefalling through the cloud and we could see this amazing panorama which took in huge swathes of Norfolk. The instructors were wonderful and it was such a brilliant experience I would think about doing it again.”

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Mr Jones also said he was delighted to be raising money for the charity.

“The former lord mayor mentioned the jumps in discussion but said she would never be able to do one, so in a very weak moment I offered to do it for her,” he said. “Then before I could look round, Laura, myself and Mr Mayhew were all signed up.”

Break provides services for children, adults and families with specialist care needs. These include holidays and respite care.

Alan Leedham, fundraising manager for Break, said: “We were delighted to have been chosen as civic charity for Norwich last year and what a way to round off our civic donations with Laura, John and Carl jumping from a plane. We would like to say a huge thank-you for their continued support. In all, being civic charity for 2006/2007 has raised over £18,000 which has enabled us to continue our support for families caring for a loved one with disabilities in Norfolk.”

To find out more about Break or to donate, visit www.break-charity.org

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