Bradford granddad William set to skydive aged 81

Bradford granddad William set to skydive aged 81

William 'Bill' Bland, who is doing a 10,000ft skydive, with his family. Picture by Josh Blinman

William 'Bill' Bland, who is doing a 10,000ft skydive. Picture by Josh Blinman

First published in News

AN 81-year-old Bradford granddad is set to brave a 10,000ft skydive to raise funds for a cancer charity in memory of his late wife.

William Bland, of Wrose, fondly known as 'grandad Bill', will take on the challenge, which includes a 5,000ft freefall, at the Black Knight Parachute Centre in Lancaster on Saturday, August 9.

His family and friends will be gathered in support as he raises money for Ovarian Cancer Action in memory of his beloved wife, Kathleen, who died in 2006.

"Some people are saying I'm crackers, but there is nothing to fear but fear itself," said Bill.

"I'm really looking forward to the adrenaline rush.

"My family and friends have been very supportive with many hoping to come on the day to watch me feet return to solid ground.

"Ovarian Cancer Action is a very personal charity to me, which makes me even more determined to complete the challenge."

Ovarian cancer is currently the UK’s most deadly gynaecological disease, with more than 7,000 cases diagnosed every year.

Despite this number, research by the charity has revealed that 80 per cent of women cannot name the symptoms of the condition.

When women are diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer, they have a 90 per cent chance of surviving for more than five years, but this reduces to 22 per cent if diagnosed in the later stages.

"We are not just raising money, we are raising awareness of ovarian cancer," said Bill.

"Money can help with research, but awareness is important so women can detect the disease early and improve their chances of survival."

"If people can support me, we can make a difference together.”

Bill’s son, Garry, and granddaughter, Emillie, are helping him with his fundraising, and both said how "proud" they are at his daring feat.

"As a person he has always been a family man, with a easy-going personality and always up for a laugh," said Garry.

"Anything we can do to raise money and support Dad we will, but I'm not crazy enough to jump out with him. My feet are staying firmly on the ground."

Bill's goal is to raise £1,000 to help keep Kathleen's memory alive by putting up a plaque dedicated to her at local cancer research centre.

“We are so proud of granddad and are delighted that friends and family are all donating to his chosen charity and supporting him in his challenge," said Emillie.

My nana would have been so proud too."

Anyone wishing to support Bill can visit his fundraising page at www.doitforcharity.com/WBland.

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