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Grandad Dave reaches for the skies

28th February 2020

A grandad of seven who says he never plans too far ahead, is taking to the skies this July in a sky dive to raise funds for Princess Alice Hospice.

Dave Higgins, who lives in Epsom, is taking the plunge so he can hold his own among the rest of his family, who between them have joined the Hospice’s annual Santa Fun Runs for the past three Christmases. One daughter has completed a five-day Sahara trek for charity.

“Running about isn’t really my sort of thing,” he says. “I can step out of a plane and lie down – so this should suit me down to the ground – literally.”

Dave is aiming to raise at least £1,100 from his sponsored tandem jump, as a “thank you” to the Hospice which cared for his wife of 45 years, Ann, before she died in August 2016.

He praised the care and attention that Ann had received from everyone at Princess Alice Hospice, a sentiment echoed by his family, he said. “Sometimes there was quite a crowd of us here to see Ann – but that was fine, we were treated so well the whole time.

“We couldn’t have asked for better. She received the very best care imaginable.”

With his skydive booked for 18 July, Dave is aiming to drum up as much sponsorship as he can. He’s hoping the social clubs he attends will rally round. A fellow member at West Ewell Social Club, Ted White, will be joining Dave on the day as he has a skydive on his bucket list and decided it was now or never. Dave is also a member at the Comrades Club in Epsom.

Originally from the Speke area of Liverpool, Dave’s early career was as a ladies’ tailor, followed by a career in heavy engineering: “Quite a big change of direction!” he said.

At the height of the economic depression in 1983, Dave had been unemployed for a while and made his way South to take up work on building sites; he trained as a bricklayer and thus began another career.

Ann and their children followed and the family has expanded to seven grandchildren as well, ranging in age from one to 27.

This isn’t Dave first foray into fundraising; he previously abseiled down a tall building in Croydon – somewhat less than the 15,000ft he’ll dive in July.

Dave is now a regular at the Man Shed in the grounds of the Hospice in Esher – a facility where men can meet up for a chat and a cuppa, sharing and learning skills such as woodworking and crafts. He’s recently restored a bench for one of the Hospice’s community allotments.

He has set up a JustGiving page where donations can be made