Being scared of heights and flying didn’t get in the way of Ceri Lister’s skydive earlier this month, in memory of her father who served for 12 years in the RAF.
The 29-year-old nursery nurse, from Consett County Durham, had never completed anything of this magnitude before. But after losing her father Kevin Fannan to B cell lymphoma, Ceri wanted to do something special to remember him, whilst raising significant funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Ceri said: “I’ve done a few other events for charity, such as races and memory walks but nothing as big as a skydive.
“I’m scared of heights and scared of flying so thought a skydive was perfect, as people wouldn’t expect me do it! It took about six months of organising and now I’m sad it’s over – it was absolutely amazing!”
Ceri’s father Kevin joined the RAF in November 1978 as trainee-aircraftman. From there he moved to become an aircraftman and a corporal, posted to various units across the UK including Mountain Rescue.
Ceri continued: “The RAF Benevolent Fund helped us so much when my dad passed away. Dad had always had life insurance but due to a missed payment when he was in hospital, it became invalid. We couldn’t afford to pay for the funeral as I had just got married, a wedding which my dad couldn’t attend as he was too ill.
“It was a time my world changed, within those six weeks I gained my prince and lost my king – it may sound corny but it’s true. A representative of the RAF Benevolent Fund came to see us about what the charity could do. We didn’t know it at the time, but as my dad served in the RAF they gave us £1,200 towards his funeral.”
She explained: “From the second we received all the help and support I knew I wanted to do something for the charity. Beforehand I had never heard of the RAF Benevolent Fund, and that was another reason why I wanted to raise awareness.”
Alongside the skydive, Ceri also organised a charity night with a raffle, cake stand and DJ, with face painting and puppetry for the kids. So far more than £1,700 has been raised for charity.
Ceri said: “I have spoken to a couple of dad’s old RAF mates over the years and they have said dad’s nickname was ‘happy’ As a young girl growing up I thought dad was a hero and saved the world. Now the fundraising events are over I feel like I’ve got closure from the past – not forgetting the past but moving forward into the future. I’m happy knowing another family will be helped by the RAF Benevolent Fund when they need it.”
Natasha Jones, RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Fundraiser said: “Ceri should be immensely proud of everything she has achieved not only with the fundraising but her skydive as well – I’m sure her father would be full of pride. We’re so grateful for all of Ceri’s effort, dedication and enthusiasm. It will make a huge difference to our work and enables us to help many more RAF families.”
If you would like to show support for Ceri please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ceri-lister2.