Showing that fundraising can be whatever you want it to be, Mrs Paddy Fergusson from Berkhamsted took to the skies recently in a hot air balloon, scooping just under £1,250 for The Hospice of St Francis to thank the charity for the post-cancer treatment provided at its outpatient Spring Centre.
Paddy decided she wanted to help the Hospice with some fundraising but was committed to setting her own personal challenge to raise money. So, on a glorious summer’s evening, she set out to conquer her fear of exposed heights by taking a 2,600ft balloon flight with Champagne Flights of Aylesbury.
“Well I am absolutely terrified of heights,” explained Paddy. “I can get in a plane no problem but put me somewhere high where I can see the ground and then I am scared witless! However, I thought if I chose to do something absolutely terrifying more people would feel compelled to sponsor me!
“The balloon trip was absolutely surreal and, despite not venturing near the edge of the casket, for me, it was an idyllic trip and a momentous achievement. I made my son Guy accompany me on the trip for moral support but actually in the end think he was more frightened than I was. He couldn’t speak afterwards!
“Once I’d told everyone I was doing the challenge in my Christmas cards, my friends and family were amazingly supportive and I’ve received many generous cheques in the post from all over the country.
“It’s all for the Hospice. I’m so grateful to the staff there for all the support they gave me during my illness. Not only did I receive visits and telephone calls from Liz, such a helpful community nurse, but I also had regular physiotherapy and massage from other team members to help relieve aches and pains which was marvellous.”
“To anyone who says they’re too old to fundraise, I’d say if I can do it, then anyone can! Just find something that you’ve always wanted to do, or been too scared to do, and spread the word; then there’s no turning back!”