Woman makes skydive leap of faith in memory of cousin Lil’ Chris

Abby Clarke took on the skydive at Ellough Airfield, near Beccles. Picture: Rhian Hogg

Abby Clarke took on the skydive at Ellough Airfield, near Beccles. Picture: Rhian Hogg - Credit: Archant

A woman has taken the plunge by skydiving in memory of her cousin Christopher Hardman, who achieved famed as Lil' Chris.

The leap of faith was in memory of Miss Clarke's cousin, Christopher Hardman, who achieved fame as L

The leap of faith was in memory of Miss Clarke's cousin, Christopher Hardman, who achieved fame as Lil' Chris. Picture: Maria Clarke - Credit: Archant

Twenty-year-old Abby Clarke, from Worlingham, conquered her fear of heights on Sunday, September 3 at Ellough Airfield as a tribute to Mr Hardman, who took his own life in 2015 following a battle with mental illness.

Miss Clarke has been raising money for Mind UK, one of the country's leading mental health charities.

Having leapt from a dizzying 14,000ft, she expressed her satisfaction at having completed the challenge - but that doesn't mean she'll be queueing up to jump again any time soon.

'I'm really glad I did it, but I don't think I'd do it again because I felt sick the whole time,' said Miss Clarke.

Miss Clarke jumped from just under 14,000 ft. Picture: Rhian Hogg

Miss Clarke jumped from just under 14,000 ft. Picture: Rhian Hogg - Credit: Archant


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'I hate flying and we were in this tiny plane where you could feel every bump.

'My friend Rhian, who has jumped over 250 times, was there to support me, but I still screamed the entire way down!'

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Lowestoft-born Mr Hardman gained recognition in 2006 after appearing on Channel 4 series Rock School, which saw Kiss bassist Gene Simmons create a band at the former Kirkley Community High, now East Point Academy.

After starring as frontman, Mr Hardman signed a record deal and, in September 2006, he released his debut single 'Checkin' It Out', which reached No 3 in the UK chart.

Over £1500 has been raised for mental health charity, Mind UK. Picture: Rhian Hogg

Over £1500 has been raised for mental health charity, Mind UK. Picture: Rhian Hogg - Credit: Archant

Lil' Chris went on to release two albums but, like many young musicians, he struggled with the pressures of fame and later suffered from depression.

Despite finding her skydive so scary, Miss Clarke emphasised that it was more than worthwhile.

'I had loads of friends and family there and I was really surprised at how many people came to support me,' she added.

'If anyone is thinking about doing a skydive then I would highly encourage it.

'So many people have been talking to me about mental health and their experiences, which is exactly what I set out to achieve.'

To add to Miss Clarke's jubilance after making the leap of faith, she has also managed to achieve her target of raising £1,500 for Mind UK.

You can still donate by visiting uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AbigailGraceClarke.

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