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Two intrepid Midlands Co-operative Society employees are taking the plunge – quite literally – to raise vital funds to support disabled and terminally ill children in the Midlands.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is the staff-elected charity for Midlands Co-operative Society for the next two years. All money raised will help buy essential specialist equipment for Midlands children.

Dani Collins, aged 21, and Matt Dodwell, 20, are both Co-operative Funeral Care administrators; Dani in Weoley Castle and Matt in Stirchley. They will be sky-diving from 10,000 feet over the Oxfordshire countryside to do their bit for the charity partnership.

Dani, who has never flown before, takes the plunge on October 14. “It will be my first experience of being in a plane as well as jumping out of one, but I am really looking forward to it. However, I will definitely have my fingers crossed all the way down,” she said. “Having seen first hand how having a disability can have such a massive impact on a child’s life, I couldn’t think of a more deserving cause!”

Dani, who lives in Bournville, has been a funeral administrator for the past 12 months. She previously trained in childcare and has worked with children with disabilities and special educational needs.

Matt, from Kings Norton, takes his turn on November 10. Also taking part in the skydive and raising money for Newlife will be Matt’s partner Ryan Bayliss, aged 20, from Castle Bromwich.

All three novice sky-divers have been busy raising sponsorship. “Family, friends and colleagues have been really great with their support, but any additional help would be welcome; Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is such a worthwhile cause,” said Matt.

He added: “I always like to take the bull by the horns – but from 10,000 feet? We’ll see!”

Matt and Ryan’s JustGiving page is:

Matt can be contacted on 0121 458 5151.

Dani’s Just Giving page is:

She can be contacted on 0121 428 4668.

Newlife Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “Dani and Matt really embody the Midlands Co-operative Society spirit. Since the charity partnership was launched in May, staff at branches across the Midlands have been busy fundraising through a wide range of fun events. It’s a big personal step taking on a sporting challenge like this, and Newlife is grateful for Dani and Matt’s enthusiasm and for the support of their colleagues, customers, friends and family.”

Stephen Beresford, Head of Corporate Affairs at Midlands Co-operative Society, said: “We always ensure that the charity money raised by our Society supports people in our trading area and we are very excited that our new charity partner is based locally in Cannock, Staffordshire. Our colleagues voted for Newlife Foundation to be our charity for 2012-2014 and we are genuinely delighted that we are making a real difference to local children in this way.”

Newlife’s Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – offers information and practical support for families. The Helpline is also the gateway to applying for Equipment Grants. To date, Newlife – the UK’s leading children’s disability charity – has awarded 467 grants to children in the West Midlands totalling £613,053.

Pictured: Matt Dodwell and Dani Collins in front of Co-operative Funeralcare, Stirchley.

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