Northern Ireland

Two women running and skydiving to raise money for sight loss charity

Gill Jackson from Moira is running 26.2 miles virtually
Gill Jackson from Moira is running 26.2 miles virtually

TWO women will this weekend run and skydive their way to raising money for a sight loss charity.

Gill Jackson from Moira, who is blind, will be running 26.2 miles virtually while Aideen Kennedy from Belfast is skydiving in a bid to support around 55,600 blind and partially sighted people in Northern Ireland.

Both events were cancelled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the two women are now set to take on their challenge on Sunday.

Ms Jackson lost her sight aged 53, after she had been diagnosed with a congenital eye condition of the cornea called keratoconus at the age of 20.

She said she wanted to help give back to the RNIB, where she is now a volunteer after using a number of the charity’s support services.

On Sunday, the former primary school teacher will take part in the London Marathon via an app over a 24-hour period.

"We are breaking it up into a 10-mile run at 7am, followed by a midday 10-mile run; then we’re finishing it off with a 6.2 mile run late afternoon," she said.

Her original fundraising target was £2,000, but she has reached £9,000.

She said she has been "greatly encouraged by everyone’s support and encouraging comments and I think that has been the biggest motivation".

Ms Kennedy, a former journalist who works for the RNIB, is taking to the skies on Sunday to raise money for the charity.

"I started working for RNIB Northern Ireland and immediately felt part of everything going on – it’s without doubt the busiest place I’ve ever worked, which I love," she said.

"I heard about the RNIB's Big Jump fundraising idea and being a bit adventurous I thought that this would be a great opportunity to raise some money and have fun at the same time."