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Local BNI members take to the skies for the British Heart Foundation


Three local BNI members have together raised £1669 by taking to the skies and jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet to help support the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) life-saving research.

Karen Sheldon from Sheldon Flanders Financial Services based in Allestree, Simon Ward from Pro-Aktiv in Nottingham, and Matt Benselin  from Go Pro Services in Long Eaton, decided to take on the challenge together, after getting to know Sophie Parkins, the BHF’s East Midlands Area Fundraising Manager. They first met at BNI Parkside, who meet on the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire border in Long Eaton – together they decided to take the plunge and sign up to help raise funds to save lives.

They joined 12 other thrill-seekers from across the East Midlands who all jumped in support of the nation’s heart charity, on Saturday 25 March at Langar Airfield in Nottinghamshire.

The BHF is leading the fight against heart and circulatory disease in the UK, which is responsible for nearly 160,000 UK deaths each year – around one every three minutes. Thanks to fundraisers like Karen, Matt and Simon, the BHF will fund half a billion pounds of new research over the next five years which will be central to discovering vital treatments for people living with heart conditions. 

With her feet firmly back on the ground, Karen said: “Supporting the BHF was an easy decision as it’s a worthy cause. So many people are affected by heart problems and more research is desperately needed. It’s so important to support the BHF, as they don’t receive government funding for their research. As I am in a position to help, I feel I should, and I’m so glad I did the skydive.”

Simon commented: “To help save a life and raise awareness of the BHF is really important to me. In setting up a new business, I learnt that life gives you one opportunity so I really want to experience everything I possibly can whilst I can. Embrace life to the full and don’t be afraid to take the next step… even when that step is out of a plane. It was incredible, and I am so pleased I went for it.”

Matt added: “The jump was brilliant; I was a bit nervous but the views were breath-taking and completely worth it! It was an amazing experience and I would encourage anyone who is thinking of doing a skydive, to sign up to be a BHF Heart Flyer right now.”

The BHF relies entirely on the generosity of its fundraisers to fund ground-breaking discoveries and identify new treatments that could help save lives and protect families from the devastating effects of heart disease.

Sophie Parkins, BHF Area Fundraising Manager in the East Midlands, said: “We are so grateful to Karen, Simon and Matt for taking on this challenge and raising such an incredible amount of money. Skydiving is a fantastic way to do something unforgettable to raise vital funds to help the BHF continue its life saving research.  Please, join our fight for every heartbeat, and sign up to become a Heart Flyer today.”

The BHF’s Heart Flyers programme is available nationwide and signing up has never been easier.  Choose a location from one of the many skydiving venues across the UK, pick a jump date and begin fundraising.