Auriel Dowty Glanville of Florence Road, Wimbledon, celebrated her 80th birthday with an exhilarating 15,000 ft skydive for our Hospice, in memory of her late partner, Richard Mackie.

After our community team cared for Richard during the last two weeks of his life, Auriel felt that her 80th milestone was the perfect opportunity to fundraise for the Hospice. 150 friends gathered for her big birthday bash, with donations kindly made to St Raphael’s in place of gifts.

To continue her celebrations and fundraising efforts, Auriel signed up for a skydive to raise vital funds for the Hospice. Coming from the Dowty aviation family, Auriel had wanted to do a skydive in her 30s. After seeing a skydive feature in St Raphael’s newsletter, she knew this was her time. The news of her skydive was received with a lot of surprise. As Auriel explained, “the timing felt right to align my birthday in honour of my late partner, while fundraising for the charity that greatly supported us.”

Her skydive was also in memory of friends Dave Lofthouse, Philip Beardsworth and the young Conor Boyd, who were in our care.

On 6 July, Auriel bravely took to the skies with the GoSkydive team at Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury. She had decided beforehand to increase her jump from 11,000 to 15,000 ft, with the hope of raising more funds.

“What a fantastic experience!” Auriel shares. “I felt calm in the plane on our ascent, with adrenaline kicking in while dangling my legs out of the plane. There was a mighty jerk when the parachute cord was pulled and then absolute peace – it was a thrill of a lifetime while incredibly gentle and calming. Floating like a bird while taking in the vast landscape including Stonehenge below.”

Auriel reached top speeds of 125mph during her skydive and has raised almost £3,000 for the Hospice and counting!

“I would recommend skydiving to anyone who is contemplating it, especially for a worthy cause, it’s never too late! The GoSkydive team have it handled down to a fine art. It all runs seamlessly and the St Raphael’s team have been so supportive throughout.”

Auriel adds: “St Raphael’s will look after more loved ones in our lifetime than we realise, as four loved ones of mine have. People may not know that they provide unmatched end of life care to over 1000 patients from Merton and Sutton every year, at no cost to the patients and families they support. This charity is a local treasure that we must all try to support.”

To continue supporting Auriel’s fundraising efforts over her 80th birthday, please visit her JustGiving page at:

To sign up for a skydive, visit

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