TWO men are taking a giant leap for charity next month – to help a paralysed South Yorkshire firefighter.
Gavin Walker, aged 28, from Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, broke his neck when he slipped on some wet decking around a pool in his mother’s garden in Brinsworth, in July last year.
He fell down three steps and landed on his head in the water – breaking his neck.
The dad-of-one, who spent most of his firefighting career at Mansfield Road fire station, Manor, Sheffield, knew instantly he was seriously injured.
He spent five months in hospital, returning home on December 15 just in time for Christmas last year.
Now Gavin, who can use his arms but has no movement from the chest down, is trying to adapt his home to accommodate his wheelchair.
He lives with his wife Victoria and daughter Jasmine.
But he needs to collect around £13,500 himself before he can qualify for any help from social services.
Friends and family members have rallied around and have been carrying out fundraising activities to help raise the cash.
Now two friends of a friend and colleague – Simon Hemingway and Ainsley Fairhurst – have volunteered to take part in an adrenaline-filled sponsored sky dive to help Gavin reach his goal.
The engineering tutors at Kirklees College in West Yorkshire, heard about Gavin’s plight through firefighter Steve North – a colleague of Gavin’s who provides first aid training at the college.
Simon said: “This all came about because Steve North who does first aid training at the college and is a firefighter explained what had happened to Gavin, one of his colleagues.
“I think everyone appreciates the work that the fire service do and the commitment firefighters give for others, and so we felt compelled to help Gavin.
He added: “We hope to raise as much as we can to help Gavin and his family adapt his home to help him live a full life, and would appreciate any donations for the sky dive. ”
Gavin, who hopes to eventually return to work with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said he had been overwhelmed by the amount of cash already raised.
He said: “It is unbelievable how much support we have had.”
To pledge sponsorship call Kirklees College’s engineering department on 01484 437000.