Wales

Great-grandmother volunteer skydives for cancer charity

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Media captionCaroline skydived from 15,000 ft to fundraise for charity

A 79-year-old great-grandmother has taken to the skies to fundraise for a cancer charity where she is one of the longest serving volunteers.

Caroline Cooper, from Caerphilly, skydived from 15,000ft hurtling at 120mph in a bid to fundraise for Velindre Cancer Centre.

She has volunteered for 20 years since her husband died from brain cancer.

Carole Jacobi, volunteer manager at the hospital, said she "makes all the difference" to the lives of patients.

Caroline said she chose skydiving to raise funds because she "loves the adrenaline" and since she was a child she was "very daring".

"It was absolutely fantastic," she said.

"People said I'd never do it but that made me even more determined."

Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Caroline chose skydiving because she "loves the adrenaline"

She completed the jump from Swansea skydive centre on 23 June, watched by some of her 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren below.

Caroline said more than five of her loved-ones have been affected by cancer, and some of whom had received treatment at Velindre Cancer Centre while she was volunteering.

The decision to start fundraising came after her daughter was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year, and received treatment at the centre.

She volunteers in the outpatients ward, where she greets new patients and helps the nurses with blood samples.

"Often the patients are very nervous, so I just chat to them and I enjoy every minute of it," she said.

"I am shocked at people thinking I'm brave."

Ms Jacobi said of the 65 volunteers across 15 departments at the centre, Caroline is amongst a group of six volunteers who started in 1999 or before.

The volunteers contribute more than 14,000 hours of unpaid work at the centre per year.

"They are that extra smiling face which brighten up a patient's day. It would be a completely different place without them."

Rhian Gibson, Velindre charity director, said they are "so grateful" for her efforts.

"The money she has raised will make such a difference to patients and their families."

Image copyright Carl Cooper
Image caption Caroline was still smiling after a 15,000ft drop

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