A DARING Dumbarton woman has completed a skydive in memory of her mother and to raise money for Dumbarton District MS Group.

Pauline McWilliams’ mum Betty was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 36 in 1954, six months after Pauline’s birth.

She deteriorated very quickly and by the time Pauline was 11 she was made exempt from school to allow her to become a full-time carer to her mum.

Betty sadly passed away at the age of 55 in 1976, but as fate would have it, Pauline would subsequently go on to help people with MS later in life after becoming neighbours with Sheena Rollo, the group coordinator for the local MS group.

Her mother’s plight and witnessing the group’s good work, inspired her to make the leap on Saturday at St Andrews Skydive School cheered on by her daughter Cordelia, grandson Conor and Sheena.

The plane took off and got to 10,000ft before Pauline could jump out with experienced dive buddy Lucas, who made Pauline feel at ease.

They then went into freefall before Lucas put the parachute into a spin three times which Pauline loved.

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The grandmother, who celebrated her 65th birthday last month, told the Reporter: “I loved the speed of the free fall that was the highlight of the jump. I guess I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I was free falling at 120mph. When the parachute opened and we slowly made our way to the ground the views were outstanding and absolutely beautiful, it was so peaceful with only the birds around me. I thought how amazing it would be if we could fly.

“Overall the whole day was a huge success, and so far the total raised at the moment is over £1,200. (My mum’s) life with MS was a prison sentence for her and a painful one at that. There was not the same support in the 50s and 60s for people living with or affected by MS.

“Dumbarton District MS Group works tirelessly and are very active in the community. Through your donations we can ensure they continue the great work they do. I just wish they were about when my mother was alive.”

It is not just through raising funds, however, that Pauline is helping the group - she has also become their shiatsu therapist.

She has been studying the Japanese therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself at college and following her mother’s experience she knew it would help MS sufferers.

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Sheena added: “Pauline is a great girl and so well liked by our group. She has been our shiatsu therapist for almost a year and the guys just can’t get enough of her, her therapies are really helping them.”