Woman to skydive in memory of cousin Lil’ Chris

Abby after booking her skydive, which will take place in September. Photo: Maria Clarke

Abby after booking her skydive, which will take place in September. Photo: Maria Clarke - Credit: Archant

A Worlingham woman is set to take on a skydive in memory of her cousin Christopher Hardman, who achieved fame as Lil' Chris.

Cousins Chris and Abby back in 2006. Photo: Maria Clarke

Cousins Chris and Abby back in 2006. Photo: Maria Clarke - Credit: Archant

Abby Clarke, 20, will make the leap of faith as a tribute to Mr Hardman, who took his own life in 2015 after battling with mental illness,

She will be raising money for Mind UK, one of the country's leading mental health charities.

Miss Clarke said her efforts are about keeping Mr Hardman's memory alive and encouraging people to be transparent when it comes to mental health.

She said: 'I've decided to raise money for Mind UK as they do a lot of work with young people as well as those suffering with mental health issues.

Abby in Liverpool during another of her fundraising efforts for Children with Cancer UK. Photo: Elea

Abby in Liverpool during another of her fundraising efforts for Children with Cancer UK. Photo: Eleanor Meech. - Credit: Archant


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'People are more open about mental health nowadays, but there's still a bit of a stigma.

'I suffer with depression myself and it's been a big deal to speak about it when it shouldn't have been.'

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

After starring as the 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.

Lil' Chris went on to release two albums and even hosted his own TV show.

However, like many young musicians, he struggled with the pressures of fame and suffered from depression as his career stalled.

Now, Miss Clarke will pay tribute to her cousin when she jumps out of a plane on September 3 at Ellough Airfield, conquering her fear of heights along the way.

'I'm terrified! I hate flying and heights so it's a big step,' added Miss Clarke.

'When I recently went to a theme park, my brother helped me calculate which rollercoaster would be most accurate to my speed and acceleration when I jump - I really wish he'd kept it to himself because it was fast and extremely scary!'

Miss Clarke has so far raised £1,120 for Mind UK. Click here to visit her Virgin money giving page.

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