Skydive for the Progressive Supranuclear Association
Jo Ferguson, Graham Dean and Claire Castle are skydiving for the Progressive Supranuclear Association; Geoff Dean (right) is also making the leap

Three generations of the same family are among a team of 12 making tandem skydives to raise money for research into a rare brain disease.

Jo Ferguson, 49, of Averham, runs Hunter Global in Lincoln with her business partner, Rachel McCarthy.

The recruitment company is raising awareness and money for the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) Association as Jo’s mum, Pauline Stringer, died from the illness five years ago.

PSP is a rare brain illness that is sometimes misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s because there are similar symptoms.

The charity’s president is Lord Sebastian Coe, whose mother died from PSP in 2005. Dudley Moore in 2002 and Peter Sarstedt in 2015 died from the condition.

Jo said before her mother was diagnosed she started doing strange things and stumbled forwards and backwards. Her writing was odd and she could no longer spell.

“We assumed it was linked to her diabetes but then she started slurring words and leaning to one side when she was sat in a chair,” said Jo.

“Eventually, after having numerous tests, other illness were ruled out and we finally got the diagnosis.”

By that time Pauline had deteriorated and had to go into a nursing home in Leeds for palliative care, which also proved a challenge as so few people know about the illness.

She died 16 months after the diagnosis, aged 68.

'In memory of mum'

Jo said when the idea of a skydive was raised at a company team meeting she said her sister, Claire Castle, 42, had done one on the first anniversary of their mum’s death. At that time Jo had not wanted to join her.

“Rachel said it would be brilliant if I could it with my brother and sister in memory of mum,” said Jo.

Her father, Geoff Dean, volunteered to join them. He has lost three stone to get down to 15 stone to be able to do it.

Geoff will be 74 on the day of the challenge and is the oldest team member. The youngest is Rachel’s stepson, Harry McCarthy, 17.

The other family members taking part are Jo’s daughter, Dana Ferguson, 20, Jo’s sister Claire and brother Graham Dean, 52, and his son, Aidan, 24.

The rest of the team are Tara Scarff, Josh Swannack, Alison Holmes, Janine Burnett and Jamie Butters.

The event will take place at Skydive GB, Bridlington, on September 2. The aim is to raise £5,000.

“We need to raise awareness of this urgently to try and help others in the future,” said Jo.

Donations can be made at Hunter Global's JustGiving page