DIVE INTO FUNDRAISING

The CHECT staff team are no strangers to fundraising – we are always happy to lead by example, mucking in and joining our supporters whenever we can. Between us we have run, walked, cycled, sumo wrestled, baked and auctioned our way to our targets.

So what better way to kick off our fundraising post than with our Supporter Engagement & Fundraising Manager’s account of her record-breaking skydive last year.

Guinness World Record Skydive, June 21, 2014
By Fiona Heath

The courage to do a parachute jump was something I always admired in other people. Last year I decided to go for it and signed up to raise funds for CHECT.

I then desperately tried to forget about it, but not before I had told the world and his wife I was going to do it! I set up my online page and only really thought about it when I was asking people to sponsor me. Every time I pictured myself falling through the sky I felt sick at the pit of my stomach, so I tried not to think about it and went into complete denial!

A week before the jump I stocked up on travel sickness pills as I was told this would help and I also made my arrangements to travel to the airfield.

I arrived at the “jumpzone” an hour before my designated time. It was the job of the check in staff to ensure I have raised enough money and ask those who haven’t for a cheque or cash to bring the amount up to that agreed prior to the event. The suggested cost by the organisers was £395, £250 to cover the cost of the jump and the remaining £145 raised would be donated to CHECT.

The atmosphere was buzzy and I was relieved to see many people having already jumped coming back with big smiles on their faces. The planes were leaving every 10 minutes and the sky was filled with jumpers, it was a fabulous sight! I haven’t mentioned it before but I didn’t have the courage to step out of the plane on my own, so I had decided a tandem jump was the only way to go. When the instructor I was strapped to was ready to jump, I was guaranteed to go with him.

I was called up to join a group in another room for instructions. This consisted of 30 minutes of safety instructions, including what do when you leave the plane and how to adopt a landing position. Our instructors had done hundreds of jumps before and really put us at ease. As this was the World Record attempt we all got kitted up and then had to have our photo taken with our jump number for official records. How exciting! We were then asked if we wanted to have a video or photos taken. I declined, seeing my face in full terror mode would not be the most flattering, never mind the G force effect on the cheeks and lips!

We then boarded the plane. We reached the jump height (15,000ft) in less than 15 minutes. I was the first to jump, strapped to my instructor. The straps were so tight and you were literally sat on their lap. We had to shuffle on our knees with our instructor towards the open door. Before we knew it we were free-falling through the air!

The adrenalin rush when you leave the plane is indescribable! I kept on telling myself to look at the views on the horizon and remembering to breathe. Then the instructor tapped me on the shoulder to let me know he was going to pull the chute cord. It felt like you were being yanked up in the air but of course this was nonsense because no one parachutes upwards!

The calm when the chute is deployed is wonderful, the descent is gentle, slowly going round in circles as you hear your instructor point out the coast and counties as you drift down. When you can see the landing zone you lift up your legs straight up in front of you to adopt the landing position. At this point the ground comes up to meet you very fast but it is very controlled.

Would I do it again? No, but not because I didn’t like it, but because there are so many other things I want to try now. Would I recommend it? Most certainly!
And yes, I am now an official Guinness Book of World Records holder – 281 jumpers in one day and I have the certificate to prove it!

Are you a dare devil? If you would like to take the leap and raise vital funds for CHECT please contact Fiona Heath on 0207 377 5578 or fiona.heath@chect.org.uk

Skydive UK who are based near Honiton in Devon are doing two events this year:

Jump Down for Cancer Day on 30th May and World Record attempt 2015 on 20th June – 333 jumpers!

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