A charity fundraiser is taking on an extreme challenge to raise funds for autism support charity Daisy Chain.

Corporate supporter Jason Hartigan from Darlington is planning a round canopy military style parachute jump and he is travelling to Holland to undertake it as such jumps can no longer be carried out in the UK.

Jason, a business development sales manager, has long been a supporter of Stockton-based Daisy Chain through the corporate network Friends of Daisy Chain. "Albert Dicken took one look at me when I joined and said you look like you could run and before I knew it I was signed up to do the Great North Run. After three Great North Runs I thought it was time to give my knees a rest so I decided to do something different."

A military style parachute jump is definitely different. Jason said: "It’s my fiftieth birthday this year so I wanted to celebrate in style and do something that would help me relive my youth. I joined the parachute regiment when I was 18, nearly 30 years ago, and I wanted to go back and do something I had done as a young man and raise funds for Daisy Chain at the same time."

Married for 23 years to wife Catherine, Jason has a 21-year-old son, Luke, studying at university and daughter Amelia, 16, studying for her A levels. Jason said: "My wife is without doubt the most supportive person in my life and has never stood in the way of anything I have wanted to do. I’m very lucky, she is the boss in our house but she did say make sure you don’t die."

Jason is hoping to raise a minimum of £500 for Daisy Chain and is planning to undertake the jump in May with Pathfinder International Parachute Group based in Teuge in Holland. The group was set up by Sergeant Roy Mobsby and Brigadier (retired) Ron Ball supported by Ian Marshall, a serving member of the British Parachute Association Council and a former Paratrooper. They run courses regularly for people from all over the world as well as World War Two re-enactment events and charity jumps for which they donate 100 euros to the participants’ chosen charity if they raise a minimum of 500 euros.

The course takes five days and there is the opportunity to undertake five jumps. Jason added, "I am really looking forward to it. I joined the parachute regiment when I was a young man but fractured my leg during training then contracted pneumonia when I was in rehabilitation so leaving the regiment was a real low point in my life. I re-joined 4 Para in 1990 with my brother, and Passing ‘P’ Company to get our red berets was hard work but very special. This course gives me a real opportunity to go back and experience the real deal.’

Stuart Dexter, Daisy Chain chief executive, wishes Jason the best of luck: "It’s fantastic that people can choose to do something really exciting and fun and raise money for charity at the same time. I am delighted that Jason is taking this opportunity to do something very different and that he has chosen to support us at the same time. It shows that raising money for charity can be a great adventure and as action-packed as you want it to be."

Anyone who wants to support Jason can do so through his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-hartigan3

Daisy Chain is also offering a skydive experience, 10,000ft tandem dive, at Shotton Airfield, Peterlee, on Saturday July 14. It’s £45 entry fee with a minimum sponsorship of £395. To book call on 01642 531248 or visit https://www.daisychainproject.co.uk/Event/skydive-2018