78-year-old Shoreham houseboat resident, Jess Aidley, has set herself the challenge of completing 100 jumps every day for 100 days in memory of her friend, Ted Young, who was cared for at the end of his life by St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing, West Sussex.
Using her grandchildren’s trampoline, ‘Jumping Grannie Jess’ was inspired to fundraise from her garden after seeing London Grandfather, the ‘Skipping Sikh’, raise thousands of pounds for the NHS during lockdown last year.
“My knees are not up to running marathons, but when I saw the Skipping Sikh raise money from his garden, I thought I could try something like that. I’ve been using my grandchildren’s trampoline in my garden to keep fit during the lockdown, so I thought, ‘why not base it around that’. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is trampolining in heavy rain, but I’m determined not to miss a day. That’s the commitment I’ve made.
“I’ve lived on a houseboat in Shoreham for 11 years, and my garden backs on to the new Riverbank footpath. People passing seem to be quite amused by the sight of an elderly woman jumping on a trampoline!
“I’ve chosen to fundraise for St Barnabas House because of the outstanding care they have given to friends, especially my friend Ted Young, in whose memory I am doing this.”
Ted Young, known to many as ‘The Busker’, was a much-loved person in the West Sussex towns of Shoreham and Worthing and could often be found delighting audiences with his one-man-band performances. A member and regular performer at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Shoreham, it is here that Jess – a retired priest in the Anglican Church – first met Ted and his wife, Chrystabell.
“Ted was held in very high esteem and in his retirement years would regularly perform for residential homes and Guildcare as well as his fundraising gigs held at the Church. He had that knack of making people feel good.”
Ted was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma – a type of cancer that affects plasma cells – in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the illness started affecting his everyday life.
Ted’s wife, Chrystabell, explained:
“It was during this time, the phrase ‘life limiting’ was used to describe his condition, and St Barnabas was mentioned as a source of help.
“I am so grateful to the hospice team, not just for their care at the end of Ted’s life, but all the way through those two years. Knowing that they were there to support us both was a relief because, having become his carer, I was feeling quite overwhelmed.”
Ted’s condition rapidly deteriorated in March 2020, and shortly after the first national lockdown, he was admitted to the hospice when he could receive round-the-clock specialist care.
“When I walked into the strangely quiet and empty hospice, I felt an enormous sense of relief. I handed the burden of care over to them, and despite the masks and gloves and aprons, despite the distancing and none of the usual physical touch I know I would have received, I felt totally cared for and safe. I was able to gently let go of my burden and know he was fully cared for.
“I was supported physically, emotionally and spiritually and was able to be there with my beloved husband as he made his final journey from earth to Heaven on 9 April 2020.”
Chrystabell is enormously grateful to her friend Jess for choosing to raise money for St Barnabas House, as, like many charities, the hospice suffered a drop in income after fundraising events were cancelled and shops were shut when the pandemic hit.
Since Jess began her ‘100 jumps in 100 days’ challenge on 1 March 2021, she has already raised over £500, which will enable the hospice to be there for more people like Ted in their time of need.
You can show your support and follow Jess’ jumping journey on her JustGiving page.