Joe’s poignant parachute jump for good cause

Joe Robison pictured with his late wife, Evelyn.
Joe Robison pictured with his late wife, Evelyn.

A Seaton Sluice man will be thinking about his wife of 65 years when he takes to the skies on Sunday.

Joe Robison will also be honouring the memory of his sister and son with the parachute jump at 10,000ft to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

All three died from the disease and after a nightmare few years, the 86-year-old decided that a skydive would be the best way to support the charity.

Although he does not like aeroplanes, he is looking forward to the jump part. He passed a medical test to be involved in the activity at Peterlee Parachute Club, County Durham.

The retired telephone engineer surprised son Tony and daughter Carol Wilkinson when he announced that he had signed up for the skydive.

Pancreatic cancer claimed the lives of Joe’s wife Evelyn, 86, last October, son Brian, 59, in 2016, and sister Dorothy Wiggins, 87, in 2015.

More than £2,000 has already been raised – a combination of online and cash donations.

Joe, who has five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, said: “It’s been a horrible few years for the family.

“My wife was a happy and lovely woman and she took her cancer diagnosis amazingly well.

“She will be in my thoughts when I do the jump and I have a picture of her on the front of my Pancreatic Cancer UK t-shirt.

“I will also be thinking about Brian and Dorothy a lot during the day.

“After losing my wife, my son and my sister, I just wanted to do something.

“I couldn’t do a running or lifting fund-raising activity, but a tandem freefall parachute jump was something I could do that would hopefully raise a decent amount for the charity.

“I’ve wanted to do a parachute jump for quite a few years, but Evelyn wouldn’t let me as she was worried about what might happen.”

The couple met in Byker, Newcastle, during the Second World War when they were children – they went to the same air raid shelter.

Joe and Evelyn became boyfriend and girlfriend in their teenage years and after getting married, they lived in Byker, then Forest Hall.

They moved to Seaton Sluice about 30 years ago.

To donate online, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joe-robison