“I think of my dad every day, and I know he’d be really proud of me”
Here at Scotty’s Little Soldiers we are always blown away by the incredible efforts all our fundraisers go to, to raise money, but it’s even more heart-warming when our Scotty members get involved. From taking on unbelievably challenging walks and bike rides, to jumping out of aeroplanes, our members go above and beyond to raise phenomenal amounts of money. The funds they raise are even more special and ensure we’re able to continue to deliver a high level of support to them, and hundreds of other bereaved Armed Forces children all over the country.
16-year-old, Ryan Darbyshire, is one such member. He recently completed a lifelong ambition to do a skydive, raising over £700 for Scotty’s in the process.
Ryan lost his dad, Sgt Steven Darbyshire, in 2010, after he was killed in Afghanistan. Ryan was just five years old at the time. Ryan and his brother Callum (14) have been supported by Scotty’s for over 10 years and were part of the founding group of members when the charity was set up in 2010.
Here we speak to Ryan about why he chose to raise money for Scotty’s and what it was like jumping out of a plane.
Firstly, what made you choose to do a skydive?
Ryan: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so for my 16th birthday I decided this was the time to do it. Also, with this year not being the best due to Coronavirus, my GCSE’s getting cancelled, no prom, no holidays, and no birthday party, I thought a skydive would be a great way to mark it.
What was it like jumping out of a plane?
Ryan: It was absolutely amazing! Free falling over the clouds was ace. I can’t really describe it, it was just the most amazing feeling, and I’m so glad I did it.
Is it something you would do again, or was it a one off?
Ryan: Absolutely, I know my brother Callum would like to do one when he’s 16, so that’s only two years away.
What do you think your dad would think of you doing this?
Ryan: I know he’d be really proud of me for doing this. My dad was a bit of a dare devil himself and enjoyed life, so it’s something I imagine he’d have done too.
Why did you choose to raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers?
Ryan: I really wanted to raise money to say thank you for everything that Scotty’s has done for us both over the last 10 years. We have had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities through the charity, and we appreciate everything that they have done to support us. They always remember us and are like family to us.
How has Scotty’s supported you?
Ryan: In so many ways. We’ve been to the Scotty Lodges most years, and to the Christmas parties. I also got the opportunity to be a mascot at Wigan Warriors and had a backstage tour of Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. Callum and I have also had the opportunity to meet bereaved Forces children from the USA as part of the TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) visit to London a few years ago.
What do you miss most about your dad and how do you remember him?
Ryan: I think about my dad every day. I was only five when he died so I don’t always remember everything, but I look at photos and go through his things. I love listening to stories about him from family and friends and learning more about who he was when he was younger.
If you’d like to donate to Ryan’s skydive, head to Facebook and donate straight to Scotty’s Little Soldiers https://www.facebook.com/kate.rowedarbyshire/posts/1947941832009797