Last July, I jumped from a plane in memory of a very special baby girl, Matilda Mae who died from SIDS at just nine months old. The skydive was a fundraiser for The Lullaby Trust who help raise awareness of SIDS, support parents and fund much needed research into why SIDS occurs.
Last year’s dive was a very spiritual experience for me and so when I was invited to go and skydive again, I jumped at the chance! Not only is it a great experience, but I wanted to enjoy the feelings it gave me all over again.
A photograph of the dive from last year
If you read this blog regularly, you may remember a few months ago I wrote a post all about my next skydive. The next skydive was to be held in May, but was unfortunately cancelled due to the bad weather conditions us Northerners have to endure. Anyway, the jump finally happened. Last Friday I drove to the North West Skydiving Centre in Flookburgh ready to make my second skydive!
Chicago Town very kindly paid for the skydive and also provided me (and the team of bloggers) with some delicious pizza and snacks for lunch too! (What an amazing combination- pizza and skydiving!!) The cheese pizza was really good actually, I was quite impressed as I don’t usually buy frozen pizza. I even managed to sneak a few home for dinner that night!
We arrived at 11am and after registering, we went and completed our ‘training’ which lasted about twenty minutes and is basically all about safety, positions of free-fall and landing and they also answer any questions you may have about the experience. The North West Skydive Centre clearly know their stuff. I was massively impressed by the amount of jumps the instructors had done (thousands and thousands) and they seemed knowledgable, which immediately put everyone at ease.
Next was the first three jumpers! I was in the first plane, along with Carrianne and Catherine. As we climbed into our jumpsuits, attached the harnesses and met our ‘tandem diver’ it was soon time to go! After some photographs for Brazen PR we were climbing into the plane and taking off at speed!
The flight up to 14,000 feet take about fifteen minutes. Chris, my instructor chatted to me, and showed me local sights out of the window. We flew over Windermere and also we could see right out to Morecambe Bay. It was fantastic! Soon at about 8,000 feet it was time to ‘tighten’ the harness. And this MEANS tighten. You are attached to your instructor like another layer of their skin. Not that I’m complaining, it’s good to feel secured to the person who’s carrying the parachutes!
I was feeling positive, but nervous. I looked out of the window, feeling determined to enjoy the experience. I wanted to take in every last second. Then it was our turn to scramble to the door of the plane. It was open and the smell of the fuel hit me.
It brought it all back.
Isn’t it strange how a certain smell or hearing a particular song can shake up your emotions without any warning? The fuel smell is strong. It’s so so windy at 14,000 feet and you struggle to catch your breath once the door opens. Chris signalled me to wriggle to the edge and dangle my legs over the edge of the plane. I leant back and thought of Matilda Mae.
We dived out of the plane!
We dropped quickly and as soon as I lifted my arms into free fall position I realised, the jump was different. I could feel myself falling, it was extremely cloudy below and all I could hear was the wind. I struggled to breathe again and remembered to lift my head up.
Everything was so white. The clouds felt suffocating, yet peaceful. We kept dropping and dropping until eventually, I felt the sudden PULL of the parachute opening.
Again. A sign of relief inside, but immediately followed by a immense feeling of sadness. The free fall is over!
Chris didn’t speak for about thirty seconds. We just carried on dropping with the parachute through the cloud.
Then suddenly, green.
Greenery! I could see the floor, barely making out the views, but Chris pointed out the landing area, and explained what was in my view. He also let me take control of the parachute steering, and needless to say we did lots of spins! (I love the spinning).
After about five minutes it was time to land. It amazed me again at how fast you are travelling as you land when skydiving. I lifted my legs up as we flipped around and ‘flew’ into land. We landed sitting down and in a field of rapeseed. I’m very glad I had taken an anti histamine, I was covered! It was a fantastic skydive, however so different from the first! The views of the Lakes, Morcambe Bay and Windermere were really beautiful. It’s a gorgeous area to jump in that’s for sure!
As the event been organised by the PRs representing Chicago Town (The no1 frozen pizza company) we have also been included in a special video campaign for their website and Facebook page, just like the Chicago Town SWAT team! How cool is that?!
The result? I loved it, and well, I adore pizza, so this was the perfect event for me!
What’s even more special is that last time when I jumped I shouted hello to Tilda, and this time I did it again. Jennie and her family are friends of mine, and it means to much to me to support them in their fundraising for the Lullaby Trust, in memory of Matilda Mae.
Team Matilda Mae are skydiving again in August (the 2nd!) and although I will be part of that again, I feel super honoured to be jumping for a third time for The Lullaby Trust too.
We’re still quite a bit off target, so I’d REALLY love if you could sponsor me, if you have any spare pennies? You can do so here It’s pretty scary sat on the edge of the plane…
Special thanks to Chicago Town, the girls at Brazen PR, the fabulous #Chicagotownskydive team and most of all Chris, my tandem instructor, for opening the parachute and ensuring I landed safely!
A huge thank you for my fabulous goodie bag too! I’m now the proud owner of a Chicago Town pizza cutter, vouchers, oven gloves and a set of Dominoes! (Brilliant marketing there!)