Letchworth mum to take the plunge in memory of son

A MOTHER had decided to throw herself off a plane at 20,000ft in memory of her son.

Lesley Payne, of Howard Drive in Letchworth GC, will be doing a skydive in Oxfordshire next Sunday, May 20, to raise funds for the Epilepsy Society, which marks its 120th anniversary this year.

The 57-year-old chose the charity after her son Martin suddenly died at the age of 18 while on a family holiday in Corfu in 2003.

Martin, who attended Knights Templar School in Baldock, was swimming in the sea at the time and an inquest recorded a verdict of Sudden and Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

Lesley had initially intended to jump at Brackley Airfield by herself, but she has now amassed a team of six to take on the challenge.

She will be joined by her friend Linda Jones and her daughter Victoria, as well as work colleagues Aneta Mihajlovska, Andrew Bokhorst and Charlotte Tyler from PayPoint PLC in Welwyn Garden City.

Ahead of the fundraiser, Lesley, whose other son David also has epilepsy, said: “I am doing this in memory of my son Martin, who died suddenly and unexpectedly just 16 days after his 18th birthday. He had left school and was an apprentice aircraft engineer when he died. That’s partly I think why a skydive seems very appropriate - Martin loved aircraft.

Most Read

“SUDEP happens to about 500 to 600 people every year, most of whom were thought to be fit and healthy, with the majority of them being very young like Martin. I know how family lives can be ruined by epilepsy. I know how scary it can be to live with the threat of a seizure striking at any time, without warning, and sadly, I now know as well, that people can die from epilepsy.

“I want to do something to help people with epilepsy to live a life as full as possible until such time as a cure can be found. I want to raise as much money as I can from this skydive to put towards this very worthwhile cause. Who knows, we may be part of finding the cure for this appalling condition.”

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