Charity skydive inspired by Northampton's Matthew Marchant just days before his death

A friend of Northampton-raised musician and actor Matthew Marchant completed a charity skydive in his honour just days before his death to a brain tumour.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 4:26 pm
Lizzy Clarke falling through the air for Brain Tumour Research in honour of her friend Matthew Marchant

Lizzy Clarke raised more than £460 for Brain Tumour Research by jumping out of a plane at 15,000ft near Salisbury on August 31.

Matthew, known as Shaggy to his friends after going viral with a hilarious parody of It Wasn't Me, died four days later, aged 31 - his funeral was on Thursday.

Lizzy, who is from Northampton originally like Matthew, said: “I wasn’t even scared; I didn’t care about jumping out of a plane. I was just thinking of Shaggy, not the skydive.

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Lizzy Clarke falling through the air for Brain Tumour Research in honour of her friend Matthew Marchant

"I wanted to raise as much as possible and help others like him. I am desperate to find a cure."

Matthew was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2018 after having a stroke while filming for a music video for his band with his brother, Pete, who paid tribute to him in the Chronicle & Echo.

Before his illness, he featured as an extra in many TV shows and films, including Bridget Jones’ Baby and Upstart Crow, as well as playing in bands with his brother.

Matthew endured brain surgery five times at Addenbrookes and John Radcliffe hospitals, as well as the latest therapies.

Don't look down! Lizzy Clarke braces herself for the skydive for Brain Tumour Research

He was unable to work for a year before his death and was cared for by his parents in Holcot, near Northampton.

Lizzy, a cognitive therapist who now lives in Leighton Buzzard, went through a similar experience with her dad who died of lung cancer, which spread to his brain in 2013.

“I have tested my own bravery in some small way by jumping out of an aeroplane at 15,000ft for Brain Tumour Research because we still have so far to go in finding effective treatments," she said.

Matthew's friends were there to watch Lizzy and give her their full support while remaining firmly on the ground, but they have been hosting other fundraising attempts in the hope of finding a cure for brain tumours.

Lizzy Clarke before the skydive

Paula Rastrick, the charity's community fundraising manager for the central region, said: “Shaggy’s story reminds us all that less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.

"We cannot allow this situation to continue. We are extremely grateful for Lizzy’s continued support.”

To donate to Lizzy’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/skydiveforshaggy

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