Daring duo – Axminster medical professionals to skydive for ‘crucial’ Blood Bikes charity, based in Honiton

A daring duo from a doctors’ surgery in Axminster are gearing up to jump from an aeroplane and skydive in aid of the Honiton-based Devon Freewheelers charity.

First-time skydiver Jessica Frances and colleague Rachel Hill have set up a JustGiving page and hope to raise £1,000 for the blood bikes charity.

Jessica and dispensary supervisor Rachel, who both work at the Axminster Medical Practice, are keen to highlight the charity’s ‘crucial’ free transport and courier service, supporting the NHS.

Healthcare assistant Jessica, aged 26, from Stockland, said: “We both work in doctor surgeries so we both understand the importance of what the Devon Freewheelers do.

“I think the public just assume the NHS funds the transportation of medical samples, breast milk and organ and tissue samples, but really, we rely quite heavily on organisations like the Devon Freewheelers and what they do.

“It’s crucial to so many parts of health care, and we actually see the benefits of what they do. it’s just incredible.”

Russell Roe, Devon Freewheelers CEO, based at Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton, said: “We are indebted to all our fundraisers because without them the charity could not keep the service on the road, supporting the NHS and community for free.

“We were humbled when we heard that Jessica and Rachel were prepared to jump out of an aeroplane to support the Devon Freewheelers blood bikes.”

He added: “Every penny they raise will be used by the volunteers to serve the community for free, transporting routine blood samples, breast milk to neonatal units and other medical samples and equipment.”


Photos show: (Left to right) Rachel Hill and Jessica Frances.
Photo: Devon Freewheelers.

Weather permitting, the healthcare professionals will tandem skydive – strapped to a professional – on August 7 from Dunkeswell Airfield.

Jessica and Rachel landed on a joint fundraiser after plans to organise a staff get-together escalated into an aerial adventure.

Jessica, who is yet to plan any future charity challenges, said: “We were talking about organising a staff party and waffles, not doing a sky dive.

“We wanted to do something different. I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie myself. We tried to convince other people to have a go but it didn’t work.

“I have been putting it to the back of my mind – and then before I go to sleep, I think ‘what am I doing? I am planning to jump out of a plane’.”

She added: “I have never done a skydive before. Rachel has. She spoke a lot about it and I thought I would give it a go.”

Mum-of-three Rachel, aged 34, from Kilmington, said: “I did it before and I really enjoyed it.

“I am literally the wimpiest person. My other half is an adrenalin junkie and booked it in for me. I probably didn’t sleep for about a fortnight beforehand.

“When I did it, it was amazing. It is a good feeling when you get down. When you fall, and the parachute goes up you are just floating around. It’s so serene and quiet in the air. Last time I came down and I wanted to go up and do it again.

Rachel added: “I probably will be nervous, but because I have done it before I am quite excited.

“I quite like it that Jessica hasn’t done it before and that I will be there for her.”

  • See Rachel and Jessica’s JustGiving page here.

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