St Luke’s nurse, James, is taking his compassion for terminally ill patients to new heights, leaping from a plane to raise funds for the specialist hospice care that ensures they live well to the end of their lives.

On Sunday 25 April Clinical Nurse Specialist James Mills, part of our team team based at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, is taking part in an exhilarating sponsored tandem skydive from 15,000ft.

Recognising the impact of the pandemic on the vital income we would normally have generated through our charity shops and mass fundraising events, such as Men’s Day Out and Tour de Moor, James – who lives in Tavistock – has been motivated to strap on a parachute and make the giant jump to help make a difference beyond the hospital walls. The money he raises will support our service for patients throughout the communities of Plymouth and surrounding areas, including Tavistock, where he lives with his family.

Working across the wards of UHP NHS Trust, James and the rest of the St Luke’s team based there provide specialist advice and support for patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses. They are there to give emotional support and practical advice to these patients and to their families and carers, too, as well as delivering education in specialist end of life care to doctors and nurses across the hospital.

For many months of the Covid-19 crisis, James and his teammates at the hospital worked tirelessly alongside their NHS colleagues on the frontline so that patients dying from complications of the virus got the high-calibre compassionate end of life care they needed.

Watching James from the ground and cheering him on when he makes his fundraising freefall will be his partner Katherine and two children, ten-year-old Tom and Grace, aged six.

James said: “St Luke’s touches the lives of many local families, but what some people might not realise is that as an independent charity we rely heavily on the support we receive from our community. It makes a crucial difference because without it we couldn’t do as much for patients and their loved ones who rely on our service when they’re going through the toughest of times.

“Doing a skydive has long been on my bucket list and I’m really proud to be doing it for such a fantastic cause.”

Anyone wanting to donate can do so via James’s JustGiving fundraising page here.

Those who, like James, want to experience the unforgettable thrill of a tandem skydive in aid of St Luke’s, are invited to sign up for the challenge on 19 June or 12 September. You can do the jump for free when you raise sponsorship of £395 or more. Sign up here.