“Higher!” Sisters Sophie and Ellie jump from above the clouds to honour and remember dad, Jay.

Published on: 22/02/2024

Jay St John became very well known locally as a proponent of the exciting water-sport, flyboarding, and would be regularly seen on the River Mersey, FORTY FIVE feet in the air, welcoming cruise ships into Liverpool.

He was indisputably a one-off, a showman, and his daughter, Sophie, told us that since he died she still feels him there with her every single day. She talks about Jay like he is with her in the present supporting her through life.

“Not wanting to worry us or to make a fuss, dad had kept quiet about his bladder cancer diagnosis for around a year but when he told us we went through all of the emotions that people do when someone they love has been given the news that their condition is incurable.

We still had time and he would not allow us to become downbeat.

Because he was so positive, we had to be, and now I feel he’s with us all of the time.

He loved the hospice. Over around an 18-month period he would be admitted for help with any pain and to control his symptoms. He loved the atmosphere and, like in his home life, he would be the centre of attention and be laughing away heartily with the nurses.

It felt like karma that dad was in a place that he had previously helped to raise money for. He famously made the local papers when he, and a couple of pals, jet-skied from Liverpool to the Isle of Man in the early 2000’s to raise money for the hospice.

He was definitely influencing my sister Ellie and I when we decided that any fitting tribute we decided to do in his memory would have to be, like him, spectacular!

So, on 23rd June 2023, the first anniversary of him passing away, we booked a Skydive to raise funds for his beloved Wirral Hospice St John’s.

It was a family weekend. Ellie and I were the jumpers. Also there, to laugh at our terror (I mean, support us in our challenge) were, my partner, Ian, my daughter, Kadey, mum, Kelly, brother, Tom, and youngest sister, Chloe, with Nan and Grandad, Annmarie and Carl.

We also felt that if we were ALL IN, there was no point in doing less than the maximum when we were going for it so we opted for the full 15,000 feet skydive (you can also jump from 7,000 or 11,000 feet).

I can really only describe my experience, although Ellie said she’d had the same rush.

That initial velocity, plunging through the clouds, felt like a waterblast on the bits of my face still exposed around the goggles. It was incredible.

Then, bang! A massive pull as the parachute opened and dragged me and my instructor back towards the clouds.

Whoosh! Followed by a more gentle drift, back down to earth, which was simply breathtaking.

I felt my dad with us all the way down. It was really wonderful. Truly emotional.

As soon as we both landed and caught up with each other, we said wanted to do it again.”

Wow, just… BRILLIANT!

Sophie and Ellie, you really did your dad and the hospice proud with your super skydive. Thank you all so much.

What? There’s more?

On 23rd June this year, Sophie, daughter, Kadey, and brother, Tom, are doing a series of ‘daredevil’ challenges at Honister slate mine in The Lake District. (*See link below photos for their Just Giving fundraising page).

Firstly the ‘Infinity Bridge,’ a 1,000ft rope-bridge walk above Borrowdale Valley. Then ‘Climb the Mine and ‘The Jump,’ a 30 metre freefall experience, the only one of its kind in the UK!

That will be magnificent. Thank you all so, so much.

Wait, what’s that?

 A Wing Walk on, or around, 23rd June, 2025? Strapped to the top of a bi-plane in the open air while performing some loop-the-loops?

That is going to be simply sensational.

I think we can all safely say, like your dad, you’re definitely not ones for half measures.

Everyone at the hospice salutes you all and please know we’ll be there with you, in spirit at least, every looping loop of that special loop-the-loop!

*You can access the link for Sophie, Tom and Ellie’s Just Giving page for their Lake District Challenge on June 23rd, 2024, by clicking here.

If you’d like to take part in a run, walk or other challenge or set up your own event to raise funds for Wirral Hospice St John’s, please speak to our friendly fundraising team on 0151-343-0778 or email events@wirralhospice.org and we’ll be delighted to help.