Sky dive trio are preparing for daring challenge to raise cash in memory of well known Burnley nurse

A photograph of her nurse mum with one of her patients was the inspiration for Vickie Wilson to launch a huge fundraising campaign.
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Vickie was moved to tears when she found the picture of her mum, Karen Archer, who was a well known Burnley nurse, with Ben King as a child. Karen died in November last year at the age of 61 after a courageous five year battle against cancer.

The framed photo was presented to Karen at her 60th birthday by Ben's parents, Dave and Fiona. The photo was taken while Karen was working as a staff nurse on the children's ward at Burnley General Hospital.

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Ben tragically died in 2016 at the age 27 after a long battle against renal failure and brain cancer.

Pals Vickie Wilson (right) Liam Murray and Kelly Johnson are preparing to do a sky dive later this month to raise money for the charity BK's HeroesPals Vickie Wilson (right) Liam Murray and Kelly Johnson are preparing to do a sky dive later this month to raise money for the charity BK's Heroes
Pals Vickie Wilson (right) Liam Murray and Kelly Johnson are preparing to do a sky dive later this month to raise money for the charity BK's Heroes

When Vickie discovered that Ben had left a lasting legacy in the form of BK's Heroes, a charity he launched himself before his death, she was determined to do something to help.

Ben had set himself a target of raising £10,000 for the renal and neuro wards are the Royal Preston Hospital. Sadly he only managed to get to half of that total before his death.

Honouring the wishes of their son, Dave and Fiona of Reedley, have continued as trustees of the charity that, in the four years since his death, has raised the staggering total of £156,000.

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This is thanks to donations from charity 'heroes' and also fund raising events including a glittering masquerade ball held each November at Burnley Football Club which has unfortunately been cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

The poignant photo taken of Karen Archer with Ben KingThe poignant photo taken of Karen Archer with Ben King
The poignant photo taken of Karen Archer with Ben King

The pandemic has put paid to many other fundraising events too so Vickie and two of her friends, hairdresser Kelly Johnson of Burnley and Liam Murray of Preston are preparing to do a sponsored skydive for BK's Heroes.

Lockdown restrictions and the weather has seen it postponed several times but a date has now been set for their daring feat which will take place at the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster on August 27th.

Vickie said: "We can't wait to do it now, despite the nerves!"

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Vickie, who has a little boy Henry who is five, has thrown herself wholeheartedly into fundraising for BK's Heroes by running collections, having t shirts printed and also a organising big charity raffle with a host of prizes including a shirt signed by footballing legend Ian Wright. Liam has also had a charity collection bucket at The Northern Way, the pub he runs in Preston.

Vickie's son Henry Wilson-Stephenson is already a champion fundraiser at the age of fiveVickie's son Henry Wilson-Stephenson is already a champion fundraiser at the age of five
Vickie's son Henry Wilson-Stephenson is already a champion fundraiser at the age of five

Poignantly Vickie also found a BK's Heroes hoodie while sorting through her mum's belongings after her death. So she had the logo transferred to one of her mum's nightdresses and placed on a teddy bear.

Vickie added: "This is such a wonderful charity that has done some fantastic work.

"Dave and Fiona are amazing people, they have devoted their lives to this cause and I want to do everything I can to help them.

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"Special thanks must go to my friends for their support in doing this and even my son who, everytime he sees green, which is the signature colour of the charity as it was Ben's favourite colour, he shouts out BK's Heroes."

Inspirational Ben suffered with kidney problems from the age of five but he refused to let this hold him back in life.

A former Nelson and Colne College catering student, who had worked at the Sparrowhawk in Fence and the ACE Centre in Nelson, Ben received a kidney from his dad Dave when he was 17 and only discovered he had cancer several years later when it started to show signs of failure.

Fiona recently made the selfless decision to donate her kidney and she is waiting to be paired with a recipient.

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She did try to donate a kidney to Ben when he was ill but it couldn't happen as he was diagnosed with cancer and medical protocol states that if you have the disease you are unable to have a transplant. Ben could not have chemotherapy either as he was in renal failure.

Fiona said: "We are so grateful to Vickie for raising the money and also the profile of the charity.

"It has been a tough year all round so this is something positive for us all to focus on."

This is Vickie's second major fundraising project. Earlier this year she raised the grand total of £5,000 at a charity ball in honour of her mum for Pendleside Hospice. This was boosted to £7,000 when Vickie and her brother, Wayne Lord, each donated £1,000 to the cause.

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Family, friends, former colleagues and schoolpals of Karen gathered for the red carpet event at the James Hargreaves suite at Burnley Football Club.

Vickie staged the event to give people who had lost someone close to them a chance to celebrate their lives.

And many went along to celebrate the life of Karen who, during her career, also worked as a diabetic specialist at Burnley General Hospital. Karen was also a paediatric sister specialising in diabetes in children at Nuffield Private Hospital in Leeds. Karen was lauded for her dedication to her role and still features on posters promoting the hospital.

Karen, who was a student at the former St Hilda's RC High School in Burnley, still continued to work even after her cancer diagnosis and subsequent rounds of chemotherapy.

She remained cheerful, positive and upbeat and was given a new lease of life when her grandson was born.

To donate to the skydive funds for BK's Heroes please click HERE

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