Grandson takes Buxton grandads place for charity skydive

Lucca Hempsall doing a charity skydive to help refugee children in place of grandpa Alex James
Lucca Hempsall doing a charity skydive to help refugee children in place of grandpa Alex James

An 89-year-old Buxton grandad was unable to do a charity skydive so his grandson took his place at the last minute.

Alex James from Kents Bank Road was meant to be taking to the skies in July to raise money for orphaned and refugee children but bad weather postponed it until last week.

However, when Alex got to the airfield in Nottinghamshire he found he did not meet the medical requirements to fly as he could not lift both of his legs up at the same time which he would need to do for landing.

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Lucca Hempsall, his 21-year-old grandson who had come with him to cheer him on, then stepped up and took his place. He said: “I knew it was important to my grandpa and there was no one else who could do it so I just said I would. I didn’t have time to think about what I was doing as it all happened so quickly but the only time I felt nervous was when I was dangling over the edge of the plane waiting for to jump out with my instructor.”

Alex, who used to run the Dandelion Days vegetarian restaurant on Bridge Street has raised more than £3,000 for Firm Foundations’, set up by Upbeat Communities - a Derby-based charity which provides support to refugee children and their families.

He said: “I’m disappointed I couldn’t do it as I had got all ready to throw myself out of a plane but it wasn’t meant to be. I hope the people who have been kind enough to donate will understand if it was up to me I would have done it.

“The money will make a huge difference to the children whose lives have been torn apart by war and I really do hope people will be happy Lucca did it in my place and the money will still be going to the good cause it was promised to.”