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Richard Cook from Wateringbury to raise money for the Rockinghorse Charity in Bears in the Air skydive with banger racers

By Claire McWethy

A group of brave banger racers are planning to go skydiving in a bid to help sick children after the son of one of their members fell seriously ill.

Dad-of-six Richard Cook has enlisted six pals to join him in the daring jump, due to take place in the skies over Headcorn Aerodrome on Friday, August 15.

The 55-year-old, from Wateringbury, decided to raise money for the Rockinghorse Charity, the funding arm of The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Brighton, after son Ryan was rushed to hospital on holiday a year ago.

Ryan Cook, 10 with his dad, Richard
Ryan Cook, 10 with his dad, Richard

The then nine-year-old spent six months recovering from complications following an operation to remove his appendix.

Mr Cook, who works for an independent motor trader and is a keen banger racer, said: “We nearly lost him. He spent a month in hospital and had to have two major operations.

“He had to miss a term of school and the fear of it happening again has affected him ever since. Every time he has a stomach ache he thinks the worst so he is very cautious now.”

Mr Cook organised the fundraiser to raise money to help children in similar situations.

Bears in the air skydivers with Shane Fry on the bonnet
Bears in the air skydivers with Shane Fry on the bonnet

The challenge has been dubbed Bear in the Air after the group convinced Brighton Bears banger racer Shane Fry, 24, to get involved.

Also taking the plunge is Louise Llewellyn from Maidstone and friends Matt Covey, Anna Shulte, David Volte and Marc Higgins, who has a young child with Asperger’s syndrome and epilepsy.

Mr Cook said: “This started off for me as a charity event for two or three jumpers.

“Many people I have asked say they can’t do it – that it’s dangerous, scary, that it’s not for them – yet they seem to have no fear with regards to crashing cars for a hobby! But eventually we had the seven.

“People’s generosity has been overwhelming. It will go a long way to helping sick children.”

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