October 2016: Lauren’s sky high after fundraisers


DAREDEVIL Sixth Form student Lauren Smithson jumped out of a plane at 15,000ft to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

The 16-year-old planned two events for the charity to mark what was going to be her last year at Haslingden High School as she completed her GCSEs.

However, she did so well in her exams, she is now staying on in the Sixth Form and studying A levels in maths, German, music and art.

In the summer she arranged a Great British Tea Party at St Veronica’s Parish Hall in Helmshore. Not only did she organise the event, but also set out the hall, baked cakes to sell and played flute in Rossendale Valley Sounds.

lauren-afterShe expected to raise £400 from each event, but the final total was £740 from the concert and nearly £630 from the skydive.

Lauren said: “My Great-Grandma, Nora Daphne Smith, who is now 95, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2004.

“However she began to show symptoms of the disease as early as 1998. The Alzheimer’s society provided much needed support to my Great-Grandad, Harry, which enabled them to live at home for a number of years following her diagnosis.

“I just wanted to say thank you for the help they have given my family.”

Her parents David and Paula and younger sister Abbie, 14, joined her at the Black Knights Parachute Centre for the tandem skydive.

She said: “I was a little bit nervous just before I got on with it because I didn’t know what to expect.

“However you don’t really have time because the next thing you are in the plane and there is no going back.

lauren-parachute“When I got to the edge ready to jump out it was really cool. I had my legs outside the plane and just leaned forward and before I knew it we were freefalling.

“A photographer followed us straight after and took photographs and a video of me on the way down.

“We did a freefall for about a minute and then the parachute was opened, I just had a big grin on my face for the whole time. The view was amazing.”

Now Lauren is planning her next daredevil challenge – a bungee jump when she is 18 to celebrate what will definitely be her last year in school.