MP Andy set to skydive for charity

Red devils parachute team - Toby Hart charity sky-dive
Red devils parachute team - Toby Hart charity sky-dive
Share this article

IS it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an MP plunging faster than David Cameron’s opinion poll rating!

One of Wigan borough’s parliamentary representatives will jump out of a plane for a charity fund set up after the tragic death of one of his constituents.

Lowton teenager Toby Hart died last year in a cliff fall accident while on holiday with his family in Cornwall - but as the 16-year-old was an organ donor, his death helped to improve other people’s lives.

And now Toby’s father Graham has organised a charity skydive in honour of Toby and the fund set up in his name, Toby’s Gift.

Joining Graham in the intrepid group set to jump out of a Red Devils jet is Leigh MP Andy Burnham, Toby’s pal Cole Moores and Post reporter James Illingworth.

Mr Burnham MP, explained to the Evening Post that any nerves he is feeling would be over-ridden by the desire to help out such a worthy cause.

The shadow health secretary, said: “The first thing I want to say is that I have been slightly worried about it ever since I agreed to do it.

“I don’t know if it is my age or not but I’ve started suffering a bit from vertigo so I’m not sure what I’m going to be like up there. But I want to do it because we are doing it for such a great cause.

“I am completely honoured to be asked to take part.

“The Hart family are such lovely people – I had heard about what had happened to Toby and when Sally and Graham came to see me I just wanted to help out in any way I could. They have turned something tragic into something positive – what a fantastic cause.

“I’m sure the prospect of a by-election if my chute doesn’t open will get plenty of exposure in the media.”

Graham and wife Sally 
have campaigned since Toby’s death to promote organ donation, explaining that the gift of Toby’s organs to other people provided a certain solace to their family.

And last month the Harts received a letter from an eight-year-old boy who had received Toby’s kidney.

Mum Sally, said: “When Toby died he left us a legacy that we are proud to promote. At the age of 14 we had the discussion with him so we knew his wishes.

“Toby gave the gift of life to four others and when I listen very carefully in the still of the night I can still hear his heart beating, bringing happiness to a whole new family.

“Now through Toby’s Gift, we want to promote the value of organ donation.”

The skydive will also raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a condition that Toby’s best pal Cole, suffers from.

Sally said: “Cole taught Toby to live for today and make the most of all you are given so it feels appropriate to give some of that back. Toby talked to us a lot about Cole and his condition, the limitations that it made on the quality of his life and also the longer term impact.”

Ed Owen, chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “For many with cystic fibrosis, a lung transplant is a vital life-saver. Yet more than half on the transplant list die before they receive new lungs.

“So we are working to help increase the number of suitable organs for donations, including investing in cutting-edge research and persuading more people to sign up to the organ donation register.

“This event is a extraordinary tribute to Toby and his family who are working with us to raise awareness.

“We are grateful to them for their support and for the commitment of Andy Burnham MP to the cause.”

To sponsor the team for Toby’s Gift and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for the skydive on April 9, contact