Picture it, a windy Saturday in July 2013 at Downton Abbey (aka Highclere Castle) while I was shaking a tin for Combat Stress at Battle of the Proms having seen the parachute regiment land in front of us, I agreed to jump out of plane.
A year passed and then came May 9th 2014, de day for doing the Tandem skydive jump at Headcorn having managed to raise over £800 for Combat Stress. The date being chosen was to coincide with Combat Stress celebrating its 95th Anniversary on this day.
So, down we all drove to Headcorn which is close to Maidstone in Kent and I was very nervous, couldn’t eat and though the sun was shining sadly the wind was over 20 mph and their was to be no jump.
So we re-scheduled, well to be honest two of the initial five re-scheduled and off we went on 9th August to attempt again only for it to be too cloudy. By now friends saying well you have tried leave it.
Then, I thought right I must do this jump, if for no other reason people had sponsored me and also I wanted to prove to my late mother I could. It was 5th May when I made this decision, only to find out that it was only valid for a year and I couldn’t do it within the next four days. So, after explaining my situation last year and paying an additional admin fee they extended it by a month so we had till June 2015.
So, third time lucky we thought and off Tori and I went on the 2nd June only to find out we had chosen the wettest and windiest day of the year, in fact gale force winds and nothing was going to happen and we were back home by 11.30am. However, we had a recap on our health and safety training which was helpful and to be honest that is scary in itself.
Everyone by now was saying we should get a certificate for dedication but we were not giving up. Also, friends were saying that maybe someone was telling us something so I didn’t tell anyone other than sending the odd text and in fact last weekend had agreed with them to give up but those who know me, know I’d do it.
So, Wednesday 17th June came it was a gorgeous day so, I called Headcorn got clearance to jump and told Tori at 11.25am and we were at Headcorn by 1.15pm. The wait was hard as we watched two full flights go off, ensuring we didn’t hear their experiences and then about 3.30pm are names were called over the loud speaker and we went off to get dressed up. Not sure if I should have been offended as my instructor asked if it was mother and daughter which was most charming as I am only 10 years older than my colleague.
Comments were you look like a smurf, a telly tubby and my godson who is three thought I looked like a power ranger.
By 4pm we are heading over to the plane.
By 4.20pm we are up in the clouds, plane door open and I am throwing myself out of the plane, thinking I am totally mad.
We were in the clouds and as someone who had jumped previously said it felt like we were in heaven and as I jumped out Tori and I said we loved each other and would see other on the other side – thankfully that was on the ground about 15 minutes later.
The freefall was amazing and my instructor Del was fantastic keeping me calm and Lee the cameraman was hovering underneath me with camera in my face capturing all the lovely shots, considering at this stage you are going between 120 and 150 miles an hour.
Then, came the parachute at 10,000 feet or whenever it was and I left my stomach at that stage.
It was so peaceful and you could talk freely and Del gave me a guided tour of the sky from the coast line to France, to London to landmarks in Kent it was amazing. However, he did ask me if I had gone into labour as I was doing a similar sound with my breathing but that was just me to stop been sick.
Then, came the sight of the landing strip as we spiralled down and all was left to get my legs up and close together, I got them up and we had a perfect landing.
I was pleased to land even if we did land in sheep pooh and my legs were like jelly but it was AMAZING though not to be repeated I can now safely tick it off my to do list.
Everyone should do something to challenge themselves, so what’s next?
Friday 18th September the 15 mile Culture Crawl for Maggie’s as part of Rainbow Warriors.