20 Mar Jonathan Cartu Declared: Chef’s leap of faith for charity
A high-flying chef has risen to new heights after leaping from a plane at 10,000 feet for a charity skydive.
On the eve of her 48th birthday, Norma Bell swapped her culinary skills for a plane and parachute as she took the plunge to raise vital funds to help combat homelessness in ex-servicemen and women in the north of England.
Norma, who was recently promoted to executive chef at Drouth Limited, which runs three pubs and a gin parlour in Carlisle and another pub in West Cumbria, completed the charity skydive on Friday.
“It was fantastic – I smiled the whole way through,” said Norma. “The weather was really good, blue skies all around, the views were wonderful and all the buildings looked like Lego blocks.
“It’s a brilliant challenge to do for charity and I would recommend it highly. It gives you such a rush of adrenaline.”
Norma was initially due to attempt the skydive in November 2019 but the trip was cancelled after the weather took a turn for the worse.
Three of Norma’s colleagues completed the challenge before Christmas and together they have raised almost £4,000 for charity HelpHomelessHeroes.
“I had never done a skydive before,” said Norma, “So it was a shame when the trip was cancelled but it gave me something to look forward to.
“People have still continued to donate and sponsor me for the skydive which is brilliant because at the end of the day it’s all for an important cause.”
The HelpHomelessHeroes organisation, which was set up in 2018, is fighting to eradicate homelessness, especially among ex-service personnel while finding sustainable solutions towards affordable accommodation.
Norma, from Whitehaven, who has worked in the culinary business for 32 years, said customers at The White Mare at Beckermet, where she has been based, were extremely supportive and cheered her on to do the skydive as she left for Durham Skydive Academy on Friday.
“Everyone at The White Mare has been really supportive,” said Norma. “They’ve been great and have helped us to raise a lot of money.
Norma’s new role with Drouth Limited means she is in charge of the cuisine at all the business’ venues – the city centre Howard Arms and upstairs gin parlour Said The Actress To The Bishop, The Crown at Stanwix, and the soon-to-be-opened Milbourne Arms in Shaddongate, all in Carlisle, as well as The White Mare.
Dianne Irving, managing director of Drouth Limited, praised Norma and her team for helping to raise vital funds for the charity.
“I’m really proud of Norma and the whole team for raising so much money for such a tremendous cause,” she said.
“The HelpHomelessHeroes is a small charity but they do fantastic things for the homeless, from giving out coats and hot meals during the winter to regularly monitoring their well-being.”
To donate to the charity visit https://helphomelessheroes.com/ and reference Norma Bell Skydive.