Mum of tragic teenager Thomas Brookes plans parachute jump for veterans' charity

A mum whose teenage son died at their Sunderland home is taking the plunge to help veterans struggling with mental health issues.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 4:26 pm

Helen Wardropper found 16-year-old Thomas Brookes at their Grangetown home on September 28, 2019.

An inquest into Thomas’ death has been scheduled for September.

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homas Brookes and pictured with mum Helen Wardropper (left) and aunt Cheryl Coggins (right)

The teenager had struggled with mental health problem for years and now Helen is planning a sponsored parachute jump to raise funds to help others who are facing similar challenges.

The 41-year-old will be performing the daring feat in aid of the East Durham Veterans’ Trust, which works with former armed forces personnel and helps them make the transition back to civilian life.

Many of the people supported by the trust are plagued by mental health issues as a result of the things they have seen during their service, something with which Helen can sympathise since Thomas’ death: “A lot of them will have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I know exactly how that fells,” she said.

“They experience all these things then they are left to cope.

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"There are lots of charities out there and I try to support them but the veterans are special, because they are all someone’s son – they all have a mam out there that absolutely loves them.

"The work of the Veterans’ Trust is absolutely amazing but there is so much more that needs to be done."

Helen will face her fears when she makes her jump at Shotton airfield near Peterlee on August 28 – but she won’t be alone.

"It is a tandem jump. I don’t think I could have done one solo – I think that is too much responsibility,” she said.

"I have never done anything like this before. I always said I would never, ever in my life do a parachute jump, it was the one thing I would not do because it terrifies me – but you have got to do things outside your comfort zone.

“Life is too short not to.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so through Helen’s Face book page: www.facebook.com/helen.wardropper

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