ONE BIG LEAP: Wally Mulgrave, of Ballina, making a tandem skydive for a Lions Club fundraiser on Sunday.
ONE BIG LEAP: Wally Mulgrave, of Ballina, making a tandem skydive for a Lions Club fundraiser on Sunday.

Jump for charity, and love

By RICHARD FORBES, Star Correspondent

AFTER weeks of preparation, two people stole the show at Skydive Byron Bay on Sunday.

Double amputee Wally Mulgrave and grandmother of 11, Margaret Graham, both of Ballina, had their reasons to support East Ballina Lions Club's bid to raise much-needed funds.

Sixty-two-year-old Wally, who lost both legs from a diabetes complication, said he had no fears about the jump and wanted to use it to raise funds for a trailerstyle barbecue for the club.

"We're after a barbecue to take to venues for further fundraising to help those in the community who need our help," he said.

"Our current barbie has just about had it.

"So we need about $4500 to $5000 for something that can cook and keep drinks cold, in fact, just about everything.

Before the jump, the club had raised about $2500 for the barbecue, he said.

Go-go-Grandma Margaret said that apart from raising funds, she was dedicating the dive to her daughter, Katie.

Katie Chardon was working as a nurse at Lismore Base Hospital when she suffered a massive heart attack and died in January this year. She was aged 41.

"I've never done anything like this before," Margaret, 68, said.

"This is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I'll do it for the club and for my daughter's memory.

"Katie was a great one for simply doing things.

"She was a very gentle person who was always there for people. So Katie, this is for you, and the club."

Jeannie Sales, from East Ballina Lions, said that Skydive Byron Bay owner Matthew Cheers arranged the dive for half price.

Mr Cheers said the pair were flown to a height of 14,000 feet (4250 metres), giving them over a minute of freefall and about five minutes hanging under the open parachute.

Wally and Margaret, along with the Angel Network of Ballina, each received a video of their dive and photos of the day.



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