Leeds grandma in charity skydive

Jean Piper.
Jean Piper.
Have your say

JEAN Piper was devastated when her husband Clive and his daughter Julie lost their battles with cancer within weeks of each other.

Former RAF pilot Clive, who was 77 when he died from lung cancer, was a big supporter of Sue Ryder Care Wheatfields Hospice, with the couple holding an annual fundraising open house and gardens event.

So when he was cared for at the hospice during the last week of his life in 2008, 64-year-old Jean decided to set up a tribute fund.

And now, the supergran, from Old Farnley, is taking fundraising to dizzy new heights – by doing a memorial skydive on June 25.

Jean will join 17 volunteers at The Dive for Clive, an event she says her husband would approve of because of his love of the skies.

She said: “People keep saying to me, what if the parachute doesn’t open, but as long as Clive is there to catch me at the other side, I’m not bothered.”

Clive, who ran a garage and a printing company after leaving the RAF, was devastated when his daughter Julie Smith died from breast cancer in April 2008.

Julie, mum to Jean’s two step-grandchildren Paul, 36, and Tara, 27, was just 51 when she died.

While arranging her funeral, Clive was diagnosed with lung cancer and died just weeks later.

Jean said: “Clive was quite ill ... so he couldn’t quite grasp what had happened to Julie. He was so ill on the day of the funeral that in the end, he couldn’t go.

“The staff at Wheatfields were just phenomenal. Once he realised he was going to die, Clive wanted to come home. A nurse came with us and settled him into the garden and he died in peace.”

Funds raised from the skydive, at Hibaldstow Airfield in Brigg, will go to the Clive Piper Tribute Fund, which gives money directly to the Headingley hospice. The total currently stands at more than £5,000.

To donate money to the skydive, visit: www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/clivepipertributefundskydive or call Jean on 0113 263 8842.

Babies from Sunshine and Smiles' baby group: From left, Teagan Henson, Oliver Sykes and Emilia Lawson

Leeds tots visit pop-up cafe launched to mark World Down Syndrome Day