Preacher falls from heaven for farewell
APREACHER took to the skies to give a skydiver’s dearly departed mum a send-off with a difference.
Julia Jones, of Ovenhouse Lane, Bollington, was asked by skydiver Asa Murphy if she would help give his late mum a fitting farewell by holding an airborne service 8,000ft above the earth.
His mum Gloria Murphy, 60, of Woodley, had always wanted to try parachute jumping but never had the chance because her osteoporosis meant doctors would not sign the necessary forms.
So Asa – who is an enthusiast of the extreme sport – decided to make her wish come true and scattered her ashes as he was free falling from a plane.
As they were plummet- ing to the ground at speeds of more than 150 miles per hour, Julia said some words and paid sacrament to Gloria before landing safely.
Julia and Asa were also joined by funeral director Ian Mann, who had organised Gloria’s original funeral service, during the daring departure ceremony.
Julia said: “I was privileged and honoured to be able to help and to be part of such a private and moving occasion made it all the more special.”
The lay preacher has been in funeral care for over 25 years, having previously been a funeral director and said she is often asked to do unusual things regarding last wishes. But she said that even this a first in a long line of unusual requests.
She added: “I always try to make each service as individual as I can and I can honestly say, this is a first for me. I think we have certainly gone ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty.”
Gloria died of a sudden heart attack in May this year. She left behind two daughters, Vicci and Michelle, another son, Paul, and six grandchildren.
The jump took place in Peterborough and was the first Asa had made after a break from skydiving following Gloria’s death.
Asa, 36, said: “It was amazing. My mum had always wanted to sky dive so the only way I could do it for her was to take her ashes – she would definitely have approved. It was like a service but in the sky. Ian and Julia were both brilliant and did me proud. They really went out of their comfort zones to make sure mum got what she wanted.”
●● Celebrant Julia Jones on her way down to earth with her instructor, and inset, upon landing