Family of Milton Keynes student who died in Madagascar plane fall launch fundraising appeal

Alana Cutland with her parents Alison and Neil
Alana Cutland with her parents Alison and Neil

The family of a Milton Keynes student who died in Madagascar have launched a crowdfunding appeal to help a village school on the island.

Alana Cutland died in July after jumping 5,000 feet out of an aircraft flying her home from a field study trip.

It is believed she was suffering from a devastating reaction to prescribed anti malaria drugs at the time.

Alana's parents Alison and Neil Cutland have now launched a JustGiving page saying: "We want to support two specific causes in memory of our beloved Alana, who died on 25th July 2019."

They add: "Firstly, in Madagascar we want to directly help the villagers of Anjajavy and the surrounding area. This is an extremely poor region, and for the villagers to leave their farms and spend 10 days searching for Alana was extraordinarily generous.

"We are hoping to fund the construction of a much-needed extra classroom at the local school, which will mean that none of the children will need to have lessons outdoors as is currently the case.

"Secondly, in the UK we plan to set up a bursary at Alana's University home, Robinson College Cambridge. This will be specifically for the benefit of female students, something that we know Alana would have thoroughly approved of."

The parents set themselves a target of £5,000 but already donations total more than £13,000.

You can donate online here.
Alana, who was in her second year at the University of Cambridge studying natural sciences, had been due to spend six weeks on Madagascan trip.

But her parents arranged for her to return home after eight days because they were worried about her health.

A light aircraft was hired to take Alana from a lodge on the north of the island to Madagascar's Ivato Antananarivo international airport. Tragically, five minutes into the flight, Alana managed to open the door and jump out - despite the efforts of a fellow passenger and the pilot to stop her.

Her family describe her as "a bright, independent young woman".

"She was always so kind and supportive to her family and friends, which resulted in her having a very special connection with a wide network of people from all walks of her life, who we know will miss her dearly," they said.