Four siblings have taken to the skies to raise money for charity after their father was killed in a motorcycle crash.
Tom, 26, Joanna, 23, Sophie, 21 and Mick Bates, 20, all skydived at Peterlee Parachute Centre to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) on June 8.
The team of four pooled together £4380 in memory of Michael Bates, who died after a motorcycle accident in July 2013.
Mr Bates, 47, from Kelso, was involved in a collision between two motorcycles and a tractor on the A683 near Ravenstonedale, Cumbria. GNAAS airlifted him to James Cook University Hospital but he later passed away of his injuries.
Mr Bates wife, Jacqueline, said: “My kids lost their dad and I lost my husband that day. I want to say thank you to the crew who tried their very best, I know they did all they could to save him. Tragically it was too late, but in appreciation we wanted to give back to the charity.
“Michael was a great family man. He always went out of his way to help others. He loved a joke and was always winding people up.
“We were lucky to have four wonderful kids together and they have totally done him proud. It hasn’t been easy, there is a huge gap in our lives, but we try every day to live our life to the full as we all too easily know it can be gone in the blink of an eye.
“GNAAS is a fantastic charity and one which will always remain close to our heart.”
The Bates’ next family fundraiser takes place in two days time where they will hold a sponsored walk from Kelso to Berwick and back again on June 28-29 to raise further funds for the charity.
Mrs Bates said: “Our silver wedding anniversary would have been on June 30 and so I felt it was fitting that we did something around that time.
“There are nearly 50 of us taking part in the ‘Michael’s Miles’ walk and we have set a target of £2500 which would cover the cost of one flight in the hope that it may make a difference to another family.”
The siblings also auctioned off a Manchester United shirt, signed by Michael Carrick, which raised £150 to go towards the total of their latest fundraiser.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We are so pleased that the Bates family have come forward to support us following Michael’s death. They are leaving a wonderful legacy and the money raised will go towards our three aircraft that need £4m every year to stay in the air.”