A BRAVE mum took to the skies to raise £3,000 for Francis House Children’s Hospice.

Lynda Cardwell, 63, raised the whopping figure with a skydive, taking the total she has helped to collect for the hospice to a staggering £106,000.

Lynda, of Urmston, runs the Cardwell Theatre School and first heard about Francis House 18 years ago from a parent of a pupil whose sister regularly used the hospice for respite care.

She has been fundraising for the Didsbury-based hospice ever since, and the school continues to hold an annual performance in its aid.

She explained: “The children that come to the theatre school are fortunate in so many ways and the children at Francis House face such enormous difficulties. I thought it was good for the pupils here to know about the hospice and to appreciate what other families face so we started the fundraising.”

This June, Lynda took her efforts one step further by resolving to do a skydive – a decision that she describes as a “mad moment”.

“I typed my plan to do a skydive into the theatre school newsletter which then committed me. I’m terrified of heights and not a great fan of flying but it seemed like a good idea. A great response came from the board of directors of the I.D.T.A - they really liked the idea of me jumping out of a plane and gave us £3,000.”

With her son Simon and his young family watching on, and with other son Gary following remotely from Australia, daredevil Lynda made a perfect landing.

“I wasn’t nervous on the day,” she recalls. “I think the theatrics took over as there was a camera and I thought I’d better smile. I loved it and wanted to do it again, but I woke up the next day and every part of my body was in agony – including my teeth!”

The Cardwell family have experienced the support of a hospice first-hand, and Lynda’s late husband was also involved in the school’s social events. Lynda said: “Tony was as passionate about raising money for Francis House through the school as I was - he supported it 100 per cent. The thing with hospices is that everybody in that building just gets it. The other people know what you are going through, the staff understand you, people don’t talk in whispers and will give you a hug when you need it.”

Over the years, Lynda’s passion for dance has inspired hundreds of children with many of her students participating in professional shows.

Alumni of her theatre school, based on Moss Lane in Altrincham, have even performed on the West End. Francis House fundraiser Kate Puc has attended every performance event since Lynda began supporting the hospice.

Lynda added: “Kate is absolutely amazing at her job and makes everybody feel valued, 18 years later we are still here.”