Trampolining Shoreham granny passes £1,000 mark in 100-day challenge for St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing
A Shoreham houseboat resident, dubbed Jumping Grannie Jess, has passed the £1,000 mark in her 100-day trampolining challenge for St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing.
Jess Aidley, 78, is doing 100 jumps every day in memory of her friend, busker and stand-up comedian Ted Young
She will reach day 70 on Sunday and is thrilled to have hit the £1,000 mark on JustGiving, with another £200 donated direct to the hospice, which cared for Ted at the end of his life.
Jess said: “I am nearer 80 than 75 and my knees are not up to running marathons – they’re not really up to running at all – so I decided to use the children’s trampoline instead.
“I have been inspired by what people have done in their gardens to raise money for the NHS and decided to have a go myself.
“I chose St Barnabas because the work they do complements the NHS but their fundraising has been curtailed by the Covid-19 lockdown. I also wanted to support them because of the outstanding care they have given to friends, especially to ‘The Busker’, my friend Ted Young, in whose memory I am doing this.”
Jess said she was following in the footsteps of the ‘Skipping Sikh’, Rajinder Singh, a London grandfather who raised thousands of pounds for the NHS during lockdown last year.
She explained: “When I saw the Skipping Sikh raise money from his garden, I thought, I could try something like that. I’ve been using my grandchildren’s trampoline in my garden to keep fit during lockdown, so thought ‘why not base it around that’.”
Determined not to miss a day, Jess has carried on in all weathers as ‘that is the commitment’ she has made.
She said: “I’ve lived on a houseboat in Shoreham for 11 years and my garden backs on to the new Riverbank footpath. People passing seem to be quite amused by the sight of an elderly woman jumping on a trampoline.”
Ted was well known in Shoreham and Worthing for his one-man band performances. He was a member and regular performer at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach and it was there he met Jess, a retired Anglican priest.
Jess said: “Ted was held in very high esteem and in his retirement years would regularly perform for residential homes and Guild Care, as well as his fundraising gigs held at the church. He had that knack of making people feel good.”
Ted was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer which affects plasma cells, in 2015 but it was not until 2018 that the illness started affecting his everyday life.
His widow, Chrystabell, said: “It was during this time that the phrase ‘life-limiting’ was used to describe his condition and St Barnabas were mentioned as a source of help.
“I am so grateful to the hospice team, not just for their care at the end of Ted’s life, but all the way through those two years. Knowing that they were there to support us both was a relief, because, having become his carer, I was feeling quite overwhelmed.”
Ted’s condition rapidly deteriorated in March last year and shortly after the first national lockdown he was admitted to the hospice, so he could receive around-the-clock specialist care.
Chrystabell said: “When I walked into the strangely quiet and empty hospice, I felt an enormous sense of relief. I handed the burden of care over to them and despite the masks and gloves and aprons, despite the distancing and none of the usual physical touch I know I would have received, I felt totally cared for and safe. I was able to gently let go of my burden and know he was being fully cared for.
“I was supported physically, emotionally and spiritually and was able to be there with my beloved husband as he made his final journey from Earth to Heaven on April 9, 2020.”
Chrystabell said she was enormously grateful to their friend Jess for choosing to raise money for St Barnabas House, as like many charities the hospice suffered a drop in income after the pandemic hit.
Visit www.justgiving.com/jumping-grannie-jess to make a donation.