13,500 feet in the air and free falling at speeds of 120mph for 45 seconds… Pretty terrifying right? Agreed! That’s exactly what three of the SCS team; Rich, Christina and Amy faced and completed in one of the most daunting challenges of their lives on Sunday 5th September. But jumping out of a plane is just a fraction of the bravery that the families of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice have to face on a daily basis and we are proud to have raised £1,000 in the process, thanks to all of your donations!

Here’s how the day unfolded in the words of the SCS team…

The Arrival

The day had arrived! After our alarms were set for an early start, it was hard to believe that the next time we get into bed, we’d have officially skydived and faced one of our biggest fears. The ironic thing was, that none of us even liked flying, let alone jumping out of a plan! But there was no going back now 😬…

It was an early start for all of us with an arrival time of 8am – 8.30am and once we arrived at the Netheravon Airfield base, we were quickly registered by the GoSkyDive team by signing our lives away on various forms and documents. Things were feeling pretty real by this point! It was great to see some Julia’s House staff present to support us along with other jumpers supporting the charity.

The weather was a little touch and go first thing in the morning with a very misty sky, but we were assured that we would all be able to jump that day which was the main thing, but I guess what we didn’t anticipate at this point was how long we would end up having to wait our turn.

The Briefing

After registration, we were called into a briefing with one of the skydiving instructors who talked us through all of the mind-blowing equipment that would be in control of not only our jump, but our lives that day! The briefing was designed to talk us through what to expect, how our harnesses and parachutes worked and gave us an opportunity to get all of our nervous questions out the way. This was certainly comforting and helped turn a few nerves into excitement.


Fun fact: Each individual parachute costs a whopping £15,000 🤯

The Wait 😣

While we expected to wait for our jump, we unfortunately didn’t anticipate how long this would actually be. The day was being shared among all kinds of jumpers; from red devil skydivers, jumpers raising money for other charities and even groups of experienced skydivers who can’t have been much older than 16! So there were a lot of people to get through. This certainly didn’t help our rollercoaster of nerves, but at least the sun was shining and we could get a bit of a (t-shirt) tan ☀️.

EVENTUALLY – our names appeared on the board, and 8 hours later… we were finally ready to go!

The Flight 😬✈️

Here we go! Our names were called and we were ready to meet our tandem instructors.

One of the most comforting things about effectively putting your life in someone else’s hands, is how experienced these instructors were. Every instructor had made over 5,000 jumps in their lifetime and claimed there was nothing that they hadn’t already experienced or dealt with in the past. Few! We’re all in good hands!

Fun fact: In order to qualify as a tandem skydive instructor, you must complete at least 800 jumps. 🤯

 

It was time to say hello to the plane and start our climb into the sky! On first impressions, the plane was absolutely tiny and it was hard to believe we would soon be jumping out of it. There was enough space for up to 20 skydivers at a time to sit (very very closely) in a row and while we took our seat, our instructors began to buckle themselves up to us and secure our harnesses. The plane ride was actually a very strange experience for all of us and certainly the point of maximum apprehension! Looking out these tiny windows at how high you were whilst also travelling into the sky backwards, is certainly a nervy moment.

Fun fact: Each skydiving instructor wear wrist and helmet gadgets which tells them specifically how high in the sky they are at any given point. 🤯

Before we knew it, we hit 13,500 feet and it was ready to jump 😳… The shutters were pulled open and it was at this point where you can’t quite prepare yourself with how it feels to be in a plane with the door open! THIS.WAS.REALLY.HAPPENING!

The Jump 🪂

First out the plane were the professionals, skydiving trainees and the camera crew. Watching people simply disappear in a fraction of a second into the clouds and knowing you were soon up next is simply TERRIFYING. Were we really about to follow suit? Is it too late to change our minds? Yep!!…

First to jump was Amy:

“The skydive experience was one I’ll never forget…and one I’ll most likely never do again 🤪! Although my jump didn’t go quite as planned, (the reserve parachute being used was quite a surprise and not expected!), I’m so pleased and proud to have been involved in raising money for the fabulous Julia’s House! I know we were all so nervous, (waiting for a long time didn’t help!) but I’m so proud of us all for ‘jumping’ out of our comfort zones and doing something so extraordinary!”

Next up, Christina:

Anyone who knows me well will know I’m not the biggest fan of flying; the slightest turbulence makes me panic! But at the same time, skydiving is something I’d always wanted to try – so when the opportunity came up to jump for Julia’s House, I grabbed it. 

I slept surprisingly well the night before and woke up feeling pretty calm. The nerves kicked in a bit on the journey to the airfield, but the excitement was there too! The first real sign of nerves was when I was trying to sign the paperwork on arrival – my hand was shaking so much, I think each of my signatures looked different. Even so, I knew I was going to experience something truly amazing very soon. 

It’s hard to describe the day as a whole to anyone. I was lucky to have a group of very supportive people come along for the day and having Rich and Amy there made it even more special. My nerves went up and down during the 8-hour wait. One minute, I was buzzing and ready to go. An hour later, I was so nervous my legs would be like jelly. Then it was time to harness up…
The second I met my tandem instructor, I calmed down A LOT. He was so chilled, supportive and friendly. Before I knew it, my legs were dangling over the door and I was pushed into a 120mph free fall! It was incredible – you can hear how fast you’re falling, but you feel more like you’re flying! It’s unlike anything I’d ever felt before. The views we got to experience once the parachute had opened were amazing – I was even taught how to steer!

And last to jump, Rich:

I was initially most terrified of being the last to jump out of the plane! I spent most of the plane ride practicing my breathing and doing everything I could do control my mind from going out of control. One of the strangest parts of my experience was watching Amy and Christina jump before me. Hearing the sound of them just vanish and knowing I was up next, was something I couldn’t quite grasp. I always wanted to go first, but actually I quite enjoyed being last in hindsight.

From the moment you dangle your legs out of the plane and prepare yourself to jump is a moment that i’ll remember for the rest of my life. It really is a surreal and out of body experience that doesn’t feel like you’re truly doing what you’re doing. As soon as my instructor let go, I had this short lived feeling like you get on a rollercoaster where your stomach is left behind, and then this immediate rush of adrenaline and a feeling that I’ve never experienced before. After 10 seconds or so, you are tapped on the back by your instructor to release your hands from holding on to your harness and enter official skydive pose! The feeling of flying through the clouds with the wind in your face is one of the best feelings i’ve ever had in my life, it was just pure bliss. 🙏🏻

Once my parachute went, it was incredibly peaceful and so quiet. I was chatting away to my instructor about how the free fall felt and he let me grab the handles and control the parachute for a bit. It was a really smooth and enjoyable glide into landing! Although one thing I will say to any guys looking to skydive, don’t do it in skinny jeans! Let’s just say, the harness makes it extra uncomfortable 👀…

I’m really thankful I had this opportunity to tick one of the biggest things off my bucket list and even prouder to have done it for a great cause. Thanks for your support!

Fun fact: Tandem skydiving gear is equipped with an automatic activation device (“AAD”) this means, a parachute would land itself if thrown out of an aeroplane. Rather reassuring we must admit! 🤯

(image above is not an image from the actual day, but very accurate!)

The Cause ❤️

The most important achievement from all of this was the target reached for Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

As our chosen corporate charity, we wanted to do all we can to help families facing unimaginable heartbreak – the knowledge that their child may not live into adulthood.

We are full of admiration for Julia’s House, who provide frequent, flexible care for children with life-limited or life-threatening conditions to give their parents a much-needed break.

Amazingly, Julia’s House has to raise 95 per cent of the money it needs each year to run this vital service which is why we chose to support them. Your kind sponsorship has made a life-changing difference to these families and we can’t thank you enough!

 

It’s not too late to donate! If you would like to support Julias House, you can still sponsor our skydive even after the event! Simply visit our Just Giving page and donate any amount you can.

Thank you!

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