Great-grandmother to jump from plane for charity

Charlotte and Jenny Everitt are ready to watch their beloved Jean Crabtree, 95, who is about to skydive for charity. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

A Tauranga great-grandmother is jumping out of a plane next week to raise money for St John Ambulance. In fact, 94 year-old Jean Crabtree is making it a family and friends outing.

All up, four generations will be part of ‘Skydive95' to help raise $300,000 for a new ambulance for St John. The full group of 18 is mostly made up of staff and residents from Welcome Bay's Greenwood Park Village and has a combined age of 1135 years.

'I did my first jump when I was 85 and then one at 90,” says Jean. 'There's nothing to it. The most uncomfortable part is sitting with your legs in front on the way up. By the time I've been doing that for a while, I can't wait to jump out of the plane.”

Jean decided to do another skydive ahead of her 95th birthday and needed four people to get a group discount. As word spread, the number of participants grew and they decided to form a committee and raise money for charity.

'One day, I saw an ambulance with another retirement village's name on the side and I realised how badly we're screaming out for ambulances throughout New Zealand. So we contacted St John and were told how much was needed,” says Jean.

Hato Hone St John head of fundraising Leanne Tiscornia says the organisation is always very appreciative whenever supporters do something incredible or selfless to raise money.

'As a charity, it means everything to us and the people they will help as a result of their generous fundraising,” says Leanne.

Jean's grand-daughter Charlotte Everitt is excited to skydive for the first time and says the addition of a fundraising element comes as no surprise.

'It's classic Gamma and we don't expect anything less,” says Charlotte. 'Gamma has a way of turning things into something bigger and making it about other people.

'It's just the kind of person she is. She's always been active socially and in the community. I don't know how many people who've had hip replacements not that long ago who'd then jump out of a plane. She's pretty special.”

Fourteen-year-old great grand-daughter Mya Kovaleski admits to some nerves. 'I've never skydived before but I think it's quite a big thing to raise money. It's for a good cause.”

‘Skydive95' is on April 18 from Tauranga airfield. To donate, go to:


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