Charity skydivers hit the heights for Saint Michael’s


Fundraisers from DTMS in Pateley Bridge prepare to take the plunge 

EXCITEMENT and courage were the order of the day at an extreme charity fundraiser at the weekend (Saturday February 25).

Almost 50 people took the plunge from 15,000 feet in an exhilarating show of support for Saint Michael’s.

Fundraisers from across the Harrogate district came together for a skydive challenge that has already raised more than £12,000 for the charity with more expected. It will help provide specialised care for local people living with terminal illness and bereavement.

Peter Jones from Harrogate, who raised almost £2,000 in sponsorship, vowed to challenge himself to something new every month since turning 60 at the end of last year.

He said: “Before we went up, I’d have said that the part I enjoyed most was the fundraising I’ve done over the past few months.

“But now having done the skydive, all I want to do is get back up there! It was just awesome.

“I will be convincing my friends to do it with me next time because it is something you simply have to experience.”

The tandem skydive took place at Hibaldstow in Lincolnshire and at 15,000 feet is the highest skydive available in the UK. It includes a full minute of freefall at 120mph.

Co-owner of Harrogate’s William and Victoria restaurant, Jo Straker, echoed Peter’s sentiments: “It is a fantastic feeling and an amazing view; I just want to do it again!

“I was nervous in training but I really enjoyed going up in the plane and then the way down was exhilarating. We did a few spins and we had a ball!

“For anyone who may be in two minds, my advice would be ‘you have to do it’. It’s the best feeling ever!”

The team knew that they were in for a good day when the late-February sun shone across clear skies from the very start at 8am.

And the Stray FM team, made up of presenter Alex Cann, head of news Patrick Dunlop and station manager Sarah Barry, captured the feeling for listeners back in Harrogate by talking to fellow jumpers about their nerves and excitement.

Saint Michael’s chief executive, Tony Collins, said: “It was a wonderful day, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and we raised a fantastic amount of money.

“My daughter and niece were two of the first out of the plane so I was very much able to share the emotion and excitement of the day.

“There was a great camaraderie throughout the group and everyone came out of it with big beaming smiles, even if there were a few nerves around beforehand.

“A huge thank you to everyone who participated, donated, and supported such a great day for Saint Michael’s.”

The next skydive for Saint Michael’s takes place on Saturday March 24, with registration closing for on Friday March 2. It costs a minimum of £395 in total with £95 due at registration and the remaining amount of personal sponsorship due the day before the event.

Challenge events like the skydive, as well as general donations and gifts left by people in their wills, have to contribute more than 80 per cent of the £3.9m it costs Saint Michael’s each year to maintain its current level of service.

It is also part of Saint Michael’s Life List campaign, which is designed to encourage people from across the Harrogate district to create a ‘to-do’ list of physical challenges they want to experience. Saint Michael’s will then help people to then fulfil those ambitions.

This event alone helped 48 local people tick skydive from their Life Lists with more people lined up to do the same on March 24.

To register or for more information contact Saint Michael’s on (01423) 879 687.

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