Justine enjoys a topsy-turvy life

Fundraising gymnast Justine Allingham turned her world upside down in a bid to raise cash.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 5:58 am
Justine Allingham at Fareham Fire Station on day 15 of her challenge

The 24-year-old has been performing handstands every day for nearly a year.

She’s hoping to raise hundreds for the Fire Fighters Charity

Justine, a licensing officer, chose the charity as her stepfather Ian Harper is a firefighter with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

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Justine at Titchfield Haven on Day 151

With her challenge drawing to a close, friends have snapped photos of her at various landmarks across the area.

Highlights include getting soaked at Fareham fire station – where her stepdad Ian works – a polling station during the referendum on the membership of the European Union and during the Great South Run.

The former martial artist has also been snapped at Winchester Cathedral and Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl cricket stadium.

Justine said: ‘It’s been difficult doing it every single day with some of the weather we’ve had.

Day 102 - Justine at Havant Tesco

‘Back in August last year I was at another charity event in Gosport and they had a bouncy castle.

‘I thought “if I could do it on the bouncy castle I can do it every single day”.

‘I managed to do one so I thought “let’s go for it”.

‘Before, I was doing it for a bit of fun, then to keep myself motivated I thought I would raise money for a charity.

Justine at Titchfield Haven on Day 151

‘I chose the Fire Fighters charity, mainly because my stepdad is a firefighter.

‘It’s one that’s close to home to me.

‘They’re the ones who go in and risk their lives.

‘They don’t get the recognition that they deserve.’

Day 102 - Justine at Havant Tesco

The former martial artist is gearing up to finish the challenge on August 14.

She has yet to decide where her final handstand will be.

But she’s hoping to get support from friends and family in the final push.

Bewildered members of the public who’ve spotted her upside-down have given her funny looks – while some even ask her to do it again so their children can watch.

Justine, who mostly uses the timer on her digital camera to capture the shots, added: ‘I’ve actually had people approach me asking “what is this about?”.

‘I had some funny looks but they’ve also asked me to do it again so their child can watch.

‘Some have said they want to give money.’

Justine said a poignant moment was doing a handstand at a vineyard in Kent 250 miles away from home where her grandfather Keith Hopper died five years ago aged 74.

Justine, from Station Road, Portchester, added: ‘My connection with the fire service is through my stepdad, and it is through him that I know how much they do.

‘The work they do every day at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is amazing.

‘I think it takes a special kind of person to do the things they do and risk their lives to keep other people safe. They are heroes.’

Justine set herself a modest £100 fundraising target but has already surpassed that.

The Fire Fighters Charity’s support programmes include rehabilitation, recuperation, psychological aid and nursing.

Praising Justine’s efforts, a Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘The Fire Fighters Charity is a cause close to our hearts and it is particularly special that it was the hard work and dedication of one of our firefighters that inspired her to launch her unusual form of fundraising.

‘Several of Justine’s handstands have been carried out at our stations and we wish her the best of luck as she gets closer to finishing her quest.’