Sat, 13 Jul 2019
A NEWBURY man has raised more than £3,000 for the Down’s Syndrome Association by leaping out of a plane from 10,000 feet.
Joe Butler, 25, has Down’s syndrome himself and wanted to do something to help others living with the genetic condition.
Last Friday, Mr Butler and one of his team of personal assistants, Daniella Northcote, took part in the tandem skydive in Oxfordshire.
Mr Butler, who lives at Sunderland Gardens, said: “It was good fun, I wasn’t nervous at all.
“To my knowledge only a couple of people with Down’s syndrome in the UK have ever completed a skydive, so I’m very excited to be part of a small and elite club.
“The Down’s Syndrome Association are a wonderfully supportive charity for people with Down’s syndrome and their families.
“They also contribute massively to research into the condition and are the only organisation in this country to focus solely on all aspects of living successfully with Down’s syndrome.
“Any donation would mean the world to me and would help support others to live a full and rewarding life, just like I do.”
Mr Butler’s mother, Maria Bee, said: “I am immensely proud of him.
“Joe is a courageous chap with a huge zest for life.
“Our aspiration for Joe is to allow him to live the richest and most fulfilling life possible and he is certainly doing that.
“He has his own home and is supported by a wonderful team of personal assistants, his family and his massive circle of friends.
“He’s such a lovely, personable guy and he’s a very popular chap in the local community of Newbury and Chieveley.
“Life has not always been easy for him and he’s had challenges over the years.
“He is achieving things that other people don’t and for his self-esteem that is fantastic.
“Five weeks ago he said he wanted to do something to raise money and in that time he’s managed to raise more than £3,000.
“I don’t think he realises what a great ambassador he is for people with Down’s syndrome.
“He does not let it stand in his way.”
The skydive is not the first time Mr Butler has gone to extreme lengths to raise money for a good cause.
Two years ago he completed the UK’s highest bungee jump (300 feet), raising £1,400 for young people with dementia.
Mrs Bee said: “He is a bit of a daredevil and an adrenaline junkie. He loves it.”
Mr Butler, with support from his family and assistants, trains twice a week with his personal trainer, attends the Community Furniture Project twice a week and also plays cricket in Newbury and Chieveley.
He is a huge football fan and holds season tickets for both Manchester United and Reading FC.
A spokeswoman for the Down’s Syndrome Association, Andrea Bishop, said: “We cannot thank Joseph and Daniella enough for their fundraising efforts.
“They’ve raised a terrific amount of money for the Down’s Syndrome Association and we are incredibly grateful – we’re glad it was them taking the jump not us.
“We exist to try and ensure that all people with Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.
“Every penny of fundraising helps us fulfil our mission, so thank you Joseph and Daniella.”
If you would like to donate and add to Mr Butler’s fundraising total, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-butler4