Birmingham man sets the bar high for New Year Resolutions

Paul Freeman, operations director

Paul Freeman, operations director

Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice has thrown down the gauntlet to help people kick-start their New Year Resolutions and sign up for something amazing in 2015.

The hospice has put together a number of exciting challenges including mountain treks, cycle rides, adventure runs and skydiving.
Paul Freeman will be taking to the skies in May to raise money for John Taylor Hospice. Strapped to an experienced parachutist, the operations director from Wombourne in Staffordshire will be jumping from a height of 10,000ft to complete his first ever skydive.

“I’ve always wanted to skydive,” said Paul, aged 54. “But when the Community Investment Crew from John Taylor Hospice paid us a visit, I had no idea that I’d go home a few days later signed up for one.”

Packaging company SSK, where Paul has worked since 1990, is committed to supporting the local communities in which its business operates. With shared roots dating back over 150 years, John Taylor Hospice is a very special cause for the Nechells-based plant.

SSK was originally founded by three gentlemen, Messers Smith, Stone and Knight, and it is Benjamin Stone who used to live in the building where John Taylor Hospice is now based.

Paul said: “John Taylor Hospice is very close to home for us in more than one way. A number of employees and their families have received care from the hospice before they died, making it a very special place.”

Touched and moved by the care provided by the John Taylor Hospice team, Paul made a real commitment to make 2015 the year he raises funds for the Erdington-based social enterprise.

As part of SSK’s community engagement ‘Project Link’, Paul and his team are collecting used paper and cardboard from its employees for recycling at the Nechells Paper Mill. All proceeds generated through this process in 2015 will be donated to John Taylor Hospice, as one of the plant’s causes of the year.
Paul and many of SSK’s employees are regular participants at a variety of charity events from running to walking to cycling. This time, he’s really setting the bar high for his colleagues as he accepts their challenge to participate.

“We’re keen to support the hospice in as many ways as we can and we already have a small group willing to take part,” he said.
“I love all things fast and furious and skydiving is something I’ve had at the back of my mind for a while. But when the moment comes to actually jump out – that’s probably going to scare me a bit.”

Community investment ambassador Liz Wood commented: “We’re delighted that Paul and his colleagues are taking up the skydiving challenge. The money raised will help us to make every moment matter for the people we care for. We’d love to have more people joining #teamjth and taking up some of our other challenges.”

May’s skydive day is one of many events taking place in 2015 to raise money for the hospice, and places are filling up fast.
“For those who would rather keep their feet firmly on the ground, there’s also the Wolf Run in April and a trek up Ben Nevis on the horizon in June,” said Liz. “Whether you’re looking to get fit, have an adventure or try something new – we’ve got something for everyone, individuals and teams.”
It costs £14,000 to run the hospice’s services each day. This includes care at the hospice and at people’s homes.

Liz added: “We can offer training support as well as resources to help bring your fundraising challenge to life and encourage donations. Check out our website or give us a call on 0121 465 2000 and start your year with something great!”
John Taylor Hospice’s 2015 skydive event will take place on 30 May at Tilstock Airfield in Whitchurch, Shropshire. Visit to find out more or make a donation to the hospice.