Sheringham mum skydives in memory of stillborn son

Mum Carol McKean has marked her stillborn son's 10th birthday by leaping into the blue to help a charity which supported her family through their grief.

Mrs McKean was one of four Sheringham friends all taking part in Saturday's tandem parachute jump for causes close to their hearts.

She hopes her feat has raised �750-�800 for Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) which helped her 10 years ago when her 8lb 7oz son Nathan was born dead, on April 11, through a combination of his mum's emerging diabetes and an umbilical cord around his neck.

The quartet, all first-time parachutists, went to Beccles airfield for their adventure and leapt 13,000 from a plane.

'It was quite amazing - the sky was really clear and sunny,' said Mrs McKean, 41, of Cromer Road, a former deputy mayor of Sheringham.

She said she had only felt nervous at the moment of leaving the plane as she looked below and thought: 'Wow - it's a long way down.

'You freefall at over 120mph for about 45 seconds and you're aware that you're plummeting!' she added. Once the canopy had opened, the final descent had taken about seven minutes and the instructor had pointed out landmarks, including Lowestoft. But, with quite a lot of twisting in the wind, Mrs McKean said she had experienced a fair amount of dizziness after safely landing.

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The jumpers were all cheered from below by family and friends and they all enjoyed a picnic afterwards.

Mrs McKean, a support worker at the Wells Surestart centre, and her co-jumpers all have links with Sheringham Primary School where Mrs McKean is a school governor and her daughter Zoe, five, is a pupil.

Teaching assistant Rebecca James, 20, from St Joseph's Close, also jumped for Sands and expects to raise �450, class teacher Madeleine Grantham, 24, of Pegg Road, was raising funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, in memory of her grandparents Neville and Dulcie Richardson. Her grandmother suffered from leukaemia and Ms Grantham hopes to raise about �450.

Kate Banks, 39, of Weston Terrace, whose husband Steve is a Sheringham lifeboatman, hopes to have raised about �600 for the RNLI. Mrs Banks works at Cromer Museum and the couple's children Alfie, eight, and five-year-old Margot are pupils at the school.

Mrs McKean, who also has children Liam, eight, and two-year-old Taylor, regularly attends Sands' annual remembrance service for bereaved families which is held in the chapel of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital every November.

To support the foursome's efforts visit: www.justgiving.com/Madeleine-Grantham, wwwjustgiving.com/Rebecca-James1, www.justgiving.com/carolmckean2011, and www.justgiving.com/Katebanks

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