Sarah gives her account of the parachute jump that she and her friend Jane completed recently raising over £1,500 with Gift Aid for the Tamsin Cummings Memorial Fund.
“We arrived at 8am, checked-in, sorted out the paperwork which included proving that we were still the weights we had stated on our application form and then we waited for our briefing. We ended up going in the second plane of the day, it was very cramped & cosy and we watched the altometers clock up the thousands of feet as we climbed higher and higher, circling above the airfield. All things considered I think that we both remained very calm and certainly gave each other courage by not getting hysterical (at least not on the outside)!
We reached altitude fairly quickly which ended up being 12,000ft and once the exit light went green and the door was opened it all moved very quickly. The ‘fun’ jumpers threw themselves out first – upside down, backwards etc to obviously show us how easy it was (!) and then it was our turn.
Jane & I were the last out of the plane – I am not sure if you have done a skydive yourself but it is not easy to make your way across a floor on your bottom whilst attached to somebody else!! Then the open door of the plane was there, a quick countdown by the tandem guys – no going back now – and we were out! I have done this once before, for Jane this was her first time but it all came back to me when I reached the open door – a kind of surreal, out of body experience where I am sure my mind was saying ‘we are not really going to jump out of this perfectly good plane are we as everything looks a bit small down there…?’
The guys that Jane & I were attached to were lovely and had done a fairly good job of keeping us calm on the way up, the one I jumped with was 100 jumps off having completed 15000 – wow!
So, what goes up must come down and down we came falling at 150mph for approximately 45 seconds, then the parachutes opened. They had said to scream on the way down to help our breathing, which was no trouble at all.
The parachute ride was calm by comparison and we were both able to steer our own parachutes a little. It seems that jumpers usually enjoy experiencing the corkscrew on the way down (rotating down and around rather quickly in tight circles) but both of us had to stop doing that as our tummies were not impressed. So, we glided peacefully to the landing area which was a couple of fields away from the runway and we both avoided sheep in the adjacent field to land safely and softly on the grass.
It was an amazing experience (possibly a once in a lifetime one for Jane) and we are both very proud of ourselves and of what we have achieved both personally and for Epilepsy ResearchUK, and we are very grateful to our sponsors who have been very generous.”