Preacher falls from heaven for farewell

Macclesfield Express - - GARRY THE HAT WHAT’S ON - ALEX HIB­BERT

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

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