A daredevil mother-of-three from Highnam is preparing to plunge earthwards from 15,000 feet in a bid to raise hundreds of pounds to help the bereaved in Gloucestershire.
Natalie Gwilliam, 31, was just seven-years-old when her own mum died and she was helped by bereavement counsellors to come to terms with her grief.
Now she wants to do something to help others who have also lost loved ones – and on Saturday 13th August Nat will be doing her first skydive to raise money for Heidi’s Heroes.
Nat, who is married to Nick and has two sons aged six and three and a daughter of just 12 months, said: “I’ve always wanted to do a skydive. I like going on those extreme roller coaster rides as I enjoy the adrenalin rush.
“Nick knew I wanted to do this and bought me the skydive as a Christmas present, so there was no going back then!
“I had a lot of counselling when I was young for a number of years after losing mum. It really helped and I wanted to give something back in appreciation of all the support I received.”
Nat will be taking the plunge over Salisbury Plain with Go Skydive, and as a first-timer will be doing a tandem jump with an experienced skydiver.
First she will undergo several hours of safety training before flying to 15,000 feet and being strapped to her skydiving expert.
Nat said: “I’m getting a bit apprehensive, but am also really looking forward to it. I’ll be wearing a wristband video so everything will be captured on film. I’ve no fundraising target in mind but am hoping to raise as much as possible.”
Paul Wood, founder of Heidi’s Heroes, said he was delighted when Nat chose the charity as her nominated cause.
“This is an extremely brave feat to undertake and we are very grateful to Nat for choosing Heidi’s Heroes. The loss of a loved one is a very traumatic event and bereavement counselling makes all the difference, I was supported by Cruse myself when Heidi died.
“To lose a parent at such a young age as Nat did is extremely tragic and must have been very hard to deal with. Nat’s fundraising will go towards helping other bereaved people in Gloucestershire deal with their grief and get the professional support they need.”
Heidi’s Heroes is a registered, Cheltenham-based charity that raises money to help the bereaved, those with cancer and teaches children to swim.
Every year Heidi’s Heroes pays for training for new Cruse bereavement counsellors in Gloucestershire. The funding enables more bereaved people in the county to be supported and has reduced Cruse’s client waiting list by nearly 50 per cent.
You can donate to Nat’s skydive via the Heidi’s Heroes website or at virgingiving.com Natalie Gwilliam.