Skydiving friends help storm victims

PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 April 2015

Jodine Arnold and Helen Burge are skydiving to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Jodine Arnold and Helen Burge are skydiving to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Archant

A daring duo of school workers are set to take part in a charity skydive after their friend lost 13 family members in a devastating hurricane.

Jodine Arnold, a learning support mentor at Banwell Primary School, teamed up with old friend and St Anne’s Primary School employee Helen Burge to raise money for people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Jodine, known as Jo, agreed to the daredevil challenge after Banwell caretaker, Bob Simmons, was personally affected by the tragedy.

Jo said: “Our caretaker Bob is married to a Filipino lady called Alma. When the typhoon struck, 13 members of Alma’s family were killed, including her parents.

“You just can’t imagine how something like that feels. We are such a close-knit team here and it hit everybody hard. It really made you feel like you needed to do something to help, so I agreed to do the skydive.”

The jump presents a separate challenge for 39-year-old Jo, as she is ‘terrified’ of flying.

She told the Mercury: “I am absolutely petrified of planes. I have not been in a plane for 10 years, and I have major panic attacks even just driving past Bristol Airport when planes are taking off and landing.

“This really is a huge deal for me.”

Proceeds from Jo’s skydive, which will take place at Honiton Airfield on April 11, are being donated to the TLC fund. Staff and students at Banwell established the fund after Haiyan struck in 2013.

Jo explained: “We originally set up the charity to raise money for electrical generators and food – anything we could do to help. There are certain areas out there which need vital support, such as the villages in and around Tacloban, and we wanted to help.

“I am so nervous, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing compares to how the people out there felt.”

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