Emma Brown takes skydive leap of faith to raise funds for London Air Ambulance in memory of stabbed brother Russell ‘Barty’
PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:25 08 May 2018
London Air Ambulance
Emma Brown threw herself out of a plane 15,000 feet up in the air as a gesture for her brother who was stabbed to death in Bethnal Green.
She took the plunge with the London Parachute School to raise money for the Air Ambulance charity at the Royal London Hospital.
It was the air-ambulance team that had battled to keep Russell alive after he was attacked on the Nelson Gardens Estate on September 11, 2016.
Her sponsored skydive has raised £2,200 so far with her online appeal for the air ambulance charity.
She’d love to make another plunge—but dad won’t let her.
“Once is an adventure, but twice he thought might be risky,” Emma said after landing safely in a field with her instructor.
“It was heaven diving through the air, really thrilling.
“As soon as I landed I wanted to go back up and do another sky-dive.
“But dad said no—he didn’t want to risk me jumping again.”
She jumped with the London Parachute School from a fixed-wing aircraft over Oxfordshire in a clear blue sky for her brother to be proud of her.
Russell, known to friends as Barty, died in hospital at the age of 26 the day after the stabbing, with his family around him.
Emma was thankful that the Royal London air crew team had managed to keep him alive long enough air-lift him back to the hospital long enough for her to bid farewell.
The mum-of-two was 33 weeks pregnant at the time with her second child, who was born six weeks later—a boy named Billy Russell after the uncle he never met.
Emma returned to the Royal London last week to meet the same crew two days after her skydive to thank them personally.
“I couldn’t feel scared jumping out of plane because there’s nothing more daunting than having to watch my brother die,” Emma recalled.
“Nothing compares to that experience—but at least we are grateful to the air-ambulance doctors for managing to keep Barty alive long enough for us.
“I did the skydive to make my baby brother proud of me and keep his memory alive.”
Emma Brown’s story
I held my baby brothers hand as I watched his heart slowly beat to a stop. I would not have had the chance to say goodbye without the Air Ambulance. Without them, Barty’s death certificate would have had ‘Nelson Gardens’. It means a lot to my family that it does not say that place.
The medical team arrived finding my brother almost dead. They performed open heart surgery. The pilot even went back to the Royal London to collect more blood to save Barty’s life. They stabilised Barty and took him to hospital. The hospital team that night never once gave up on him. After 11 hours it was clear Barty was just too tired and he passed away.
Emma, a school admin officer at Olgar Primary in Bow, made the jump with Bobbie Ferrari, Russell’s friend.
They met Dr Ben Clarke for the first time last week, the doctor who treated Russell at the scene at Nelson Gardens before air-lifting him to hospital.
The Royal London was the same hospital where a kind-hearted Russell was due to have an operation to donate a kidney to save his aunt’s life when his own was tragically snatched away on that fateful late summer afternoon on the Nelson Gardens housing estate.
Two men later arrested and charged with murder were acquitted at the Old Bailey in 2017. That led to a ‘Justice for Barty’ candlelight vigil by friends and wellwishers to remember the victim.
Russell’s close-knit family from the Roman Road—his mum Tammy and dad Russell senior, both 52—never got over their loss. But they joined their daughter Emma to say thank-you to the air-ambulance team.
At least Emma’s skydive keeps Barty’s memory alive and goes towards keeping the emergency helicopter flying to help others in crisis.