Inspiring Wheatfields volunteer and fundraiser, Jean Piper, presented with special Sue Ryder award

Jean Piper’s husband Clive was cared for at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice 11 years ago and Jean embarked on the ‘Dive for Clive’ skydive in his memory. Even when she herself was diagnosed with leukaemia, Jean continued fundraising and volunteering in the Wheatfields shop, and it is that determination which saw her presented with the Sue Ryder Incredible Colleagues Award for Overcoming Obstacles last year.

Jean Piper with Heidi Travis at the Incredible Colleague Awards Ceremony.
Jean Piper accepting her Sue Ryder Incredible Colleagues Award for Overcoming Obstacles, alongside Sue Ryder Chief Executive Officer, Heidi Travis.

Jean Piper isn’t one to shy away from a challenge - the 72-year-old counts sky-diving and wing-walking among her hobbies. In the last 10 years she has raised huge amounts for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in memory of her husband, trying everything from abseiling and fire-walking, to her favourite looping-the-loop.

She said: “I volunteer at Wheatfields on a Wednesday and a Saturday morning and I love it. It keeps me going. I was in remission for six years but unfortunately the cancer came back last year. I have got two grandchildren and also great grandchildren now so I’m just grateful for everything that I have.”

“Jean has taken the extra time she feels she has been given and is using it to do everything she can to make the world a better place”

Jean was nominated for the Incredible Colleagues award by Jen Stapleton, shop manager at Sue Ryder Wheatfields and Headingley shops.

Jen said: “Jean is still determined to volunteer and despite taking some time off is committed to her days at the shop. She is an absolute inspiration. She has taken the extra time she feels she has been given and is using it to do everything she can to make the world a better place. Every day she is in she buys something from the shop to use to raise money for good causes and is a truly selfless person.”

Jean skydiving in memory of her husband, Clive.
Jean's ‘Dive for Clive’ skydive, in memory of her husband, who was cared for at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.

Jean describes working in the Sue Ryder Wheatfields shop as a ‘privilege’ and said she didn’t know she had been nominated for an award until she received the official letter.

She added: “I was due to be in America but the doctors said I shouldn’t travel so I was able to go to the ceremony in the end. I was a bit embarrassed to be honest – there are so many people who do so much for Sue Ryder - but I was very honoured to get the award. It’s a real privilege to be able to work in the Wheatfields shop. It’s a nice team and we all get on well together. And there are always lots of bargains to pick up!”

“I was very honoured to get the award. It’s a real privilege to be able to work in the Wheatfields shop”

In the last 10 years Jean has done no less than five skydives. She said: “The loop-the-loop was easier than doing the skydives. I did a wing-walk to begin with and then I asked if I could loop –the-loop on the wing and they said I suppose you could if you want to! I have done two fire-walks and that was pretty easy actually – the secret is to walk not run – but the loop-the-loop was my favourite by far."

Jean wing-walking on top of a plane.
Jean wing-walking on top of a plane.

“The hospice needs to raise a huge amount to keep going and I love being able to help with that"

“I would love to do it again - I can’t do anything like that at the moment, but I have still been helping in the shop. The hospice needs to raise a huge amount to keep going and I love being able to help with that. People are very faithful to the hospice shop because Wheatfields means so much to them – it’s just an amazing place.”

Find out more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and ways you can support our specialist palliative care.