A BRAVE fundraiser who is petrified of heights will be throwing herself out of a plane to raise money for a hospice.

Zara Hynes, who works in marketing solutions at Newsquest, publishers of the Gazette, will be facing her fear to raise money for Havens Hospices.

She first learnt about the charity’s work after hearing about it at the Newsquest Essex Countywide Business Awards.

Since then, she has vowed to raise as much money as possible for the charity.

Zara, 35, from Colchester, said: “Nick Hart, who attended the awards along with Lydia Plews, senior business development officer for Havens, was welcomed to the stage and told us all of his own experience with the hospice when they took care of his daughter Katie Hart-Greenfield in her final months of life.

“She fell unwell whilst they were at church one day and initially everyone thought it had been a seizure.

“Little did they know it was the start of her end of life.”

Katie, who attended Westcliff High School, was 12 when she first fell ill. She was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer in October 2006 and given six months to live.

However, she defied the odds and died weeks after her 15th birthday in 2008.

Zara said: “He explained how they made the most of every day.

“He couldn’t thank the hospice enough for their support. From the initial visit to the final goodbye, the hospice was seen by everyone as an extended family.

“I was in tears, it really touched my heart. I have never been connected to a charity before but with the support they offer children and adults, I just found it really heartfelt.”

Zara, who works for the marketing team at LOCALiQ, is hoping to hold a number of fundraising events before her skydive at Beccles Airfield on September 26.

The challenge is also a personal one for her.

She said: “I have never done anything like this before, I’m petrified of heights. It’s something I have always wanted to do as I’ll be facing a massive fear of mine.

“I think once I have done this, I can do anything.”

She is hoping to learn more about the charity’s work to give her the motivation she needs for the challenge.

She said: “It’s pushing myself and doing something for a great charity. I will be going to visit the hospice so I can get a bit more background.

“I feel sick talking about it but I have got to do it. I will be holding events to raise as much money as possible.”

Anyone wanting more information or wanting to donate to Zara’s appeal should visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/zara-hynes1.