Search

Former Hampstead florist to jump 10,000ft in charity skydive

17:00 11 June 2014

Stephen Swain (right) with his nephew Steven.

Stephen Swain (right) with his nephew Steven.

Archant

A former florist is preparing for a skydive to raise money for a children’s charity which supports his teenage nephew.

Stephen Swain, 46, whose family ran Essex Court Flowers in Hampstead High Street for 20 years, will jump 10,000ft from a light aircraft on June 29 in aid of Families United Network, which supports young people and their families living with disabilities.

Mr Swain, who is now a service co-ordinator for the charity and lives in Hertfordshire, will be joined on the skydive by his 20-year-old nephew Steven.

Steven’s younger brother Teddy, 14, has received support from the charity since being diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Mr Swain said: “Teddy wasn’t diagnosed for years and because of his behaviour he wasn’t in school for nearly two years. I saw how isolated and introverted he became.

“We take young children out into the community to do things they wouldn’t do with mum and dad, and we run holiday projects nine times a year. Teddy used to come to our youth club and he joins some of our trips.”

At the age of 11, Mr Swain moved to Spedan Close, Hampstead, where his mother still lives, and went on to sell flowers for the family business on the corner of Willoughby Road and Hampstead High Street for 20 years.

The family took over the stall more than 30 years ago from Maggie Richardson who ran it for 60 years. Her work has since been honoured with a plaque on the spot where her stall stood, dubbed Maggie’s Corner.

In 2008, rising rents and competition from Tesco forced the flower-selling business to close.

Mr Swain left several years before the stall’s closure to become a youth worker but has fond memories of famous customers in Hampstead.

“I was very close with Denis and Stella Quilley and Peter Barkworth,” he said. “Glenn Close was living in Hampstead and Denis told her to ‘go and buy your flowers off Steve’.

“Boy George and George Michael were customers, the list is endless. It was a lovely time and I really enjoyed my time.”

Mr Swain has raised £500 in donations to support the skydive so far and is aiming for £800 in total.

He added: “I’m really excited, I can’t wait. I just want to do it now. It’s raising a lot of money and it’s doing a great thing.

“I see first hand the pleasure the children get from the projects we run. Ten pounds pays for one of our volunteers working at one of our clubs each day.”

To support Mr Swain, visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/swain1000. For more about Families United Network, visit familiesunitednetwork.org.uk.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:12
Ian Campbell outside Hendon Magistrates' Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

Yesterday, 17:00
Left to right: Jeremy Clynes, Deborah Warland, Hetty Colchester and Jonathan Seres, who all helped to set up Garden Suburb Community Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Campaigners who took over running their local library to save it from closure fear that new multi-million pound cuts will “decimate” Barnet’s library service.

Yesterday, 16:45
Will Jenkins, of Highgate School, was a finalist in the 11-14 category at the 50th Wildlife Photograher of the Year Awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Yesterday, 08:56
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

Most read news

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition