Fearless Birdman helps raise cash for her nephew’s operation

Jack Cleere with his supporters at the 2011 International Bognor Birdman
Jack Cleere with his supporters at the 2011 International Bognor Birdman

A BOGNOR Regis Birdman has flown to the rescue of a disabled boy.

Civil servant Kiely Rashbrook took part in the 2010 fly-off from the pier.

The £2,000 she raised from taking to the sky as a rainbow fairy with giant wings went towards the £60,000 cost of ensuring her nephew Jack Cleere, eight, could walk for the first time.

Kiely, 40, of Teddington, said: “I was determined to raise money to send Jack to St Louis and I have always loved the Birdman event.

“Jumping into the sea was the obvious way to attract attention to our campaign and it worked wonderfully.”

Her supporters handed out leaflets along the seafront and were staggered by the £500 handed to them by spectators.

The result has seen Wandsworth resident Jack, who was born with quadraplegic cerebral palsy, leave his wheelchair behind. This is thanks to the selective dorsal rhizotomy which has treated the spasticity in his lower limb.

His mother, Melisa Rashbrook, said: “Jack is doing amazingly well. The operation has completely transformed his life. He can walk with crutches at the moment but he should be able to walk independently soon. He can also swim and ride a bike.”

The news of the success of Kiely’s fundraising is a timely boost for the organisers of the International Bognor Birdman.

It has traditionally been used by its contestants to raise thousands of pounds for a range of good causes.

This year’s event is taking place on August 4 and 5.

Visit www.birdman.org.uk for an application form.