An Aberdeen grandmother had been gearing up to do a skydive at the weekend to mark turning 70 and to raise money for local charity Home-Start Aberdeen.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the skydive has been postponed, but Jean, who has been a Home-Start volunteer for 4 years is encouraging the public to get behind her and show support for local families who are struggling.

Jean, who says she has always been full of adventure and inclined to do the unexpected, decided last year that she wanted to do a skydive to raise money for Home-Start on or around her 70th birthday.

Although disappointed not to be able to complete it this weekend Jean is committed to doing the skydive next June 2021: “I’ll just have to make it a celebration for my 71st,” she said. “I was so looking forward to it, although I think my daughter is probably a bit relieved! I’ve done a fair share of wild things in the past including abseiling off buildings so my family should be used to it by now!”

With a 30-year career in elderly care Jean is no stranger to working with people and sharing the highs and lows of life, whilst volunteering in some capacity all her life. For 4 years Jean has volunteered with Home-Start Aberdeen, both in its charity shop and as a home-visiting volunteer.

Home-Start Aberdeen works to build strong families and happy children in local communities through the provision of trained, supportive volunteers who visit families with young children in their own homes, helping them to deal with challenges they face.

This support is usually provided via a home-visiting service but the charity has adapted this support since Covid-19 to ensure it can continue to support families appropriately.

Their support provides crucial help for struggling young families who are typically affected by social isolation, bereavement, relationship problems, illness, disability and financial hardship.

“I’ve supported several families in that time, all whom have faced different challenges. I’ve found the restrictions Covid-19 has brought frustrating. I’m used to being so busy and helpful, and I’ve felt at quite a loss from all of that. I’ve missed seeing the families I support, especially the little ones who often refer to me as “Grandma Jean”. Yes, we’ve talked on the phone and video message but it’s not the same.” Jean adds.

“Many families were facing difficult challenges which are now exaggerated by the pandemic. If I can help in small ways by being there for them and fundraising to support the work of the charity, then I feel like I can still make a difference. It’s a privilege to be able to help families and children, even in a small way and it brings me so much joy.”

Eleanor McEwan, general manager for Home-Start Aberdeen said: “Jean is always surprising us and is a real character. It’s an absolute pleasure to have her as one of our family support and shop volunteers. We were excited, and maybe a little nervous, when Jean said she was going to do a skydive for her 70th birthday and raise money for us. I know just how disheartened she has been not being able to do it this year as planned, as well as all the other birthday celebrations she has had to reschedule but we’re behind her all the way to 2021 when we look forward to cheering her on.”

Anyone who wants to support and sponsor Jean can make a donation to the Home-Start Aberdeen emergency appeal on JustGiving here