Three brave orthoptists will leap 15,000ft out of a plane next month to help pay for a state-of-the-art machine at a Chester hospital.

Claire Voas-Clarke, Abbey Morris and Vicki Jackson are putting their fears aside to take on the UK's highest skydive this August at the Black Knights Skydiving Centre in Lancaster.

It is in the hope they will raise enough money to fund a brand new eye scanning machine for their department, that will further improve eye services for patients at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The colleagues, who work in the Trust's Eye Clinic, are hoping to raise as much as they can for The Countess Charity's Retinal Eye Scanner Appeal, which aims to fund an Optos scanner.

This advanced piece of equipment produces wider images of the thin layer of tissue (retina) benefitting both adults and children by allowing faster diagnosis and being less invasive, but it also has a particular advantage for young children and babies who will now be able to undergo scans.

Claire said: "We are so focused on trying to get sponsorship for this appeal which is close to all our hearts. This is really not an easy challenge for us. I've done sponsorship events in the past but this one really means a lot to us.

"Getting this new scanner would be an incredible boost for us and will further ensure we can give top quality care to our local children and adults," she added.

Vicki explained: "I think we needed to think of a challenge that would really make an impact and went outside our comfort zone.

"None of us have done this before so it's a real challenge. Amazingly, one of our patients is a former skydiving champion and she has given us lots of great tips – including how not to break our legs on landing!

“But there's not a lot of preparation we can do ahead of it- we're just going to turn up on the day, do our best and remember why we're doing it," she added.

To donate to the challenge, visit the Justgiving page at