10,000ft jump is a big thank-you to hospital staff

LEAP OF FAITH Stephen Roberts on his skydive
LEAP OF FAITH Stephen Roberts on his skydive
Enthusiast Matt Searson with his selction of collectable vinyl releases. Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180341-007)

IN PICTURES: Record Store Day in Southsea

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HE JUMPED 10,000 feet out of a plane all to say thanks to hospital staff who saved his daughter’s life.

Stephen Roberts, 30, from Rowan Road in Havant, raised almost £3,000 for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital.

It came after his 18-month-old daughter Eloise was born with a serious heart condition called tricuspid atresia – a form of congenital heart disease.

It meant that her heart was not fully functional and she had to undergo surgery at just a few days old.

He said: ‘These guys were incredible with the knowledge and the way they dealt with us.

‘For us it was a frightening time.

‘It was very touch and go to whether she would survive.’

Stephen said he felt it was important that he did something to thank the hospital staff.

‘I said to my wife after the second operation that I wanted to do something for them,’ he said.

‘One of my biggest fears is falling.

‘I figured that if my daughter could go through open heart surgery then I could do that for her.

‘I thought it would be the best way of raising money.

‘People would be more generous if you did something that was a big fear for you.’

Stephen took part in the skydive with a group of friends, including John Buckle, whose 18-month-old daughter Sophie, also received treatment at the hospital.

Stephen said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

‘It was absolutely brilliant,’ he said.

‘I was calm beforehand. I thought I was going to be a lot more nervous.

‘It wasn’t until I got into the plane that I started to feel nervous.

‘I loved it. I can’t believe it was something I thought I would be scared about.

‘The only feeling better than that was to become a dad. It was so strange looking down falling towards the ground.

‘It’s really exhilarating. It’s just an intense rush.

‘I feel pleased. I’m trying to encourage next year’s event now.’

To make a donation, please visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/stephenroberts1.