As I fell through the sky, what really freaked me out was the sense of calm. Jumping out of the plane felt so normal that I wondered if my heart was actually beating any faster.
I’d always wanted to do a skydive. We’re a daredevil family – my father had completed an indoor skydive for his 70th birthday and when he reached 80, he decided to go for the full outdoor experience. My friends said I was crazy and that my dad was even more mad. My grown-up nephew Tom joined us too, making it a family adventure.
A great cause
I’m in my third year as chair of the PTA at St Peter’s Junior School and I’ve been actively involved with the school for the past ten years. The school has quite a lot of outdoor space, but it can get boggy in the winter. The Friends have ambitious plans to revitalise and future-proof the outdoor area and I thought that choosing the Friends as my nominated charity would be the perfect way to kickstart the project.
I set a fundraising target of £1,000 and created a fundraising page on JustGiving. I decided to fund the cost of the skydive myself so that every penny donated would go directly to the Friends. Some people sponsored me twice: once before the event and again after I’d completed it.
The big day
On the day, we arrived raring to go and completed the safety briefing.
The family had brought a picnic and as we ate and chatted, we almost forgot why we were there. But at 2pm, after the clouds had cleared, we got into the harnesses and up we went.
I thought I’d be more frightened, but I loved the feeling of free-falling. However, when the instructor pulled the parachute lead, I developed motion sickness and felt quite queasy. Despite the relief at landing safely, I’d have happily gone straight back up for another go.
I’m delighted my thrilling skydive raised over £1,200 for the school.
- Laura Ratcliffe, chair, Friends of St Peter’s School, Ruddington (350 pupils)