Letchworth mum skydives in memory of son

A MOTHER has completed a charity skydive in memory of her son who died suddenly at the age of 18.

Lesley Payne jumped from a plane at 20,000ft to raise money for the Epilepsy Society after her son Martin died from the condition while on holiday in July 2003.

Martin, who attended Knights Templar School in Baldock, was swimming in the sea at the time of his death, which was caused by Sudden and Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

Lesley was initially due to jump at Hinton Airfield in Oxfordshire on May 20 but, after being postponed due to poor weather conditions, the Letchworth GC resident completed the feat last Tuesday.

“I was terrified as I faced the white void of cloud - the land could not be seen through it - but I thought of Martin, and jumped,” said the 57-year-old, whose other son David also has epilepsy.

“The free fall was noisy and it was difficult to breathe but it felt like floating, not falling, which surprised me. When I landed, I could not believe what I had just done. I was sad that Martin was not there to see it, but he was with me all the way.”

Lesley was joined on the skydive by her friend Linda Jones and her daughter Victoria, as well as work colleagues Andrew Bokhorst and Charlotte Tyler, raising almost �6,500 between them. Another colleague at PayPoint PLC in Welwyn Garden City, Aneta Mihajlovska, was unable to take part due to her car getting a puncture during the journey there but will complete her skydive at a later date.

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Lesley, who lives in Howard Drive, added: “PayPoint colleagues and directors have been so generous towards this cause as I was working there when Martin died, almost nine years ago. I have been totally overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and generosity, I am amazed at the support I have been given.

“I know our sum is only a small amount of the money needed by the Epilepsy Society to continue their work, but I hope that it helps towards finding a cure for epilepsy and preventing unnecessary epilepsy deaths.”

To sponsor Lesley visit www.justgiving.com/Lesley-Paynejump

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