September 22 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 8°C

Five-day forecast

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

Stephen Swain (right) with his nephew Steven. Stephen Swain (right) with his nephew Steven.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
5:00 PM

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

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

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.

Share this article

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 and 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 and 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.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead and 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

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE