Debra Morris is Chair of Headway Derby and has spent the last few weeks recovering after her fundraising skydive on 26th October. Debra gave us this interview:
Not every specialist brain injury solicitor would choose to go skydiving. Where did the idea come from?
- My daughter, Katie, had it on her bucket list. I foolishly said I would join Katie and skydive if it was for a really good cause. I never really thought it would ever happen!
Who did the skydive?
- Alison Wright is a case manager who works with patients who have suffered a brain injury. Alison was intending to skydive for her 50th birthday; she told one of my clients whom she helps with care and support, they told me and the rest, as they say, is history.
Why did you decide to skydive?
- Alison Wright had already agreed to skydive to raise funds for Headway, the national brain injury charity. My work involves helping injured clients with brain injury to secure compensation to help improve their lives. However, I also see many people who cannot claim compensation and rely on the services of brain injury charities. This was the reason I became Chair of Headway Derby. The chance to raise a lot of money for Headway Derby was too good to miss.
What was it like to skydive?
- I was very nervous on the day. We had decided to skydive in September when the weather would be better but we were cancelled 3 times before we got the go ahead. By then I was even more scared but we hardly had time to worry as we got the call on the same day that the plane could take off. I was relieved not to have another sleepless night!
- Katie and Alison really enjoyed themselves but my experience was not the same! Hanging out a plane thousands of feet above the ground has to be the scariest thing I have ever faced.
- Whilst I did survive it in one piece (with no aches or pains afterwards) I absolutely hated every moment. I knew it would be scary but didn’t realise how bad until the moment I stepped out of the airplane into a void below – going face down at 120 m.p.h. We were 13,000 feet up and as it was a cloudy day we couldn’t see anything until the parachute opened (fortunately!).
How will Headway Derby Benefit?
- We are almost at our £3,000 target and there is a possibility we might even raise more money. The funds will be used to set up mobile support and advice hubs around Derbyshire to broaden our area of support to those with a head injury.
What’s your next adventure?
- My feet are staying firmly on the ground. I am working hard with staff at Headway Derby and we continually look for ways to improve the service.
- We have been on Headway’s list of solicitors for Nottingham for many years. This involves independent evidence that the solicitor’s firm has experience acting for clients with brain injury. Since the skydive I have been told that we have also now been accepted for the Derby area. As I head up Barratt’s Derby office, this will keep me busy.
Any Last Words?
I would encourage anyone thinking about an activity to give a thought to the many charities around the UK who support those most in need. Whilst my skydiving days are definitely numbered, I do not regret my decision. I have been passionate about helping clients with head injury since I began my legal career, which makes it all the more satisfying to raise money for Headway Derby.
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