North East Connected

80-year-old skydiver jumps to raise much needed funds for hospice

THE sky’s the limit for a prolific fundraiser as she prepares to leap from an aircraft to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Heighington-born daredevil Nancy Spencer is planning a tandem freefall to raise thousands of pounds for St Teresa’s Hospice, where she has volunteered for the past 25 years.

Over the years the retired quality controller has taken part in a host of charity events including abseiling from the top of a hospital, It’s a Knockout contests and sponsored bed pushes, helping to raise thousands of pounds in the process.

“I was planning to do the jump for my 70th but sadly lost my husband Brian at the time so postponed it,” said Nancy. “I’ll be thinking of him when I jump and am sure he’ll be looking down on me.

“I am a great lover of life and believe you should do what you want because you never know what is around the corner. I never thought my Brian would end up in St Teresa’s but he did after being told on Christmas Eve morning that he had cancer. I’ve always been passionate about St Teresa’s. I do a lot for the hospice and the community gets a lot back. It is such a precious service, it really is.”

Nancy will jump attached to an instructor on October 15, near Peterlee, while her family, some of who will have travelled from Oxford, watch on, before celebrating her birthday at Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington.

Instead of presents she has asked friends and family to make a donation to the hospice, which needs to raise £3m a year to provide free in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

“I’ve never done freefall before, I must be a bit of a daredevil,” she said. “As I get older I seem to have less fear.

“I am so lucky to have all my faculties and limbs in working order. I enjoy every minute of volunteering at St Teresa’s. When I retired on medical grounds from work I realised that I’m not the sort to just sit around and then I saw an ad for hospice volunteers.

“During Covid I really missed the place and am elated to be back. It gives me purpose and I feel I am doing something good. I have enjoyed every minute of it and still am.”

John Paul Stabler, communications and marketing manager at St Teresa’s Hospice, said: “Nancy is a tremendous supporter and always goes above and beyond for the Hospice, this time quite literally! Her positive attitude to life is really inspiring and we will all be cheering Nancy on.

“We still face challenges in fundraising and we’re so pleased to see our community rallying around the Hospice to raise the much-needed funds to continue helping those in need.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Nancy should contact the Events Team at St Teresa’s Hospice on 01325 254321 or

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