I’m not sure we can still call it a National skydive as unfortunately Salisbury had to rearrange due to the weather, but Skydive Swansea still went ahead with what was 36 people taking part in the end - I say that because it was 35 at the beginning of the day, but after much grumbling from the first group of three, I was kindly given a jump suit from the guys at the desk and told to get on the next plane! How silly of me to think I could get away with it.
From the off the good people at Skydive Swansea took care of us all, making sure we’d signed our lives away, I mean signed the consent and medical forms, and then took all the skydivers through a thorough briefing on how we were to be strapped to our instructors – very reassuring, the seating position, falling position, landing position and most importantly - go to the toilet before you get in your jump suit!
Jumpers then got suited and strapped up (after going to the toilet) and practiced the important positions before waiting to be called up for their flights!
Needless to say the nerves began to show the closer it got to your jump, and they were shown in all sorts of ways! Looking petrified (that was me), crying, and hysteria all played their part and for some all of the above with some extras thrown in, but all shared in the excitement that lead up to their jump.
Having taken part I can say it was a very strange feeling walking up to a plane knowing I was about to voluntarily jump out of it, albeit strapped to someone with a parachute, and others expressed the same bizarre feeling, we all got into our seating positions on the plane (which all in all I would say was like a cheaper version of Ryan Air but without a food trolley, or seats) got comfortable and took off, watching the ground getting further and further, and further away.
Then the door opens and people start disappearing out of the door! I’m sure it was somewhat more controlled than that, but I was thinking so much about my body position I didn’t really notice much else until suddenly I was hanging over the edge of the plane attempting to smile at the camera person who was hung to the side of the plane and then I’m out, freefalling to the ground at 120mph for 45 seconds, or as I recall... Aarrrrgggghhhhh!
Once the chute was deployed there was a few minutes of graceful gliding to the ground taking in the breathtaking views of Swansea and the Gower. I couldn’t recommend the experience enough and urge you to register with Swansea Skydive... for a charity jump obviously!
It was great to have such a fantastic turn out from friends and families who had all come to support those who were supporting us, not to mention helping each other spot the tiny plane that was 12,000ft above us against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sunny sky in the Gower, and that’s when someone would shout - there’s one! And there would be a tiny pin head floating across the sky gradually getting bigger as the tandem was freefalling together before deploying the parachute followed by another and another, then came the game of spotting your jumpers! Thankfully Swansea Skydive were kind enough to let friends and families know what colour parachute to look out for and there were many pictures and videos taken
Everyone who took part were smiling from ear to ear after touchdown and said it was the best experience of their lives, “the fact that it has helped to raise funds for Follow Your Dreams makes it all the more special”, As I’m writing this we are still counting the donations and the donations are still coming in, but currently we have raised over £10,000 through the skydives
This has been and incredible experience and an even more incredible achievement for all involved, the funds raised will go a long way to supporting children and young people with learning disabilities in achieving their dreams.