When Dorset Cancer Care Foundation popped into the Co-op in Lilliput in search of donations, it got more than it had bargained for.
Supermarket worker Eugene McQuinn was so impressed by the work of the local charity, he offered to throw himself out of a plane.
Eugene, who has worked at Co-op Food in Lilliput for the past 11 years, explained: “Diane Bird from the Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF) came into the shop asking if we would display one of their collecting tins.
“We got talking and she told me how DCCF helps people from Dorset meet the financial pressures that cancer can place on them. I was really impressed by what she had to say and as I have always fancied doing a tandem skydive, I offered to do one for the charity.”
Dorset Cancer Care Foundation was founded by Eve Went, Pam Jeffries and Leslie-May Harrison from Poole, in 2012 and has donated tens of thousands of pounds to individuals, hospices and cancer projects across the county.
Financial grants are available to cancer sufferers for everything from paying household bills while undergoing treatment, to transport to and from hospital and much-needed short breaks.
Eugene continued: “I think Diane was a little taken aback by my offer at first, but then she was pretty excited.
“All the customers and staff here said I was completely mad, but they were all really generous with their sponsorship and before I knew it I was 15,000 feet up in the air, strapped to an instructor and freefalling. It was out of this world – awesome – and as soon as I landed I wanted to do it again.”
Diane Bird, head of communications and fundraising for DCCF said: “It’s not every day that someone you’ve just met offers to jump out of a plane for you, but that’s exactly what Eugene did.
“What’s more he has raised an incredible £2560 for Dorset Cancer Care Foundation, which will make a real difference to the lives of cancer sufferers here in Dorset.”
She added: “We are extremely grateful to Eugene and all those people who sponsored him and we hope he will inspire other people to fundraise for us in 2016.
“Eugeine is now saying he wants to abseil down the Shard in London for us and frankly, I wouldn’t put anything past him.”