May 17 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
Brave fundraisers flung themselves out an aeroplane and enjoyed an exhilarating freefall for charity.
The daredevils took part in a tandem skydive from an airfield in Northamptonshire in aid of Kenton-based St Luke’s Hospice’s 25th anniversary appeal that aims to generate an extra £250,000 to expand the charity’s services.
Pensioner and first time fundraiser Sylvia Collis, 77, of Somervell Road, South Harrow, raised more than £1,000
She said: “At my age, I decided I wanted to help St Luke’s for their 25th anniversary. I did it for three reasons; to give back to society; it’s the most exhilarating but scary experience; and I did it for my family, who were very proud of me.
“It’s lovely because you’re out in the elements and it’s one huge sky and you have to trust your instructor because you’re in their hands entirely.
“Once I was standing on the ground, it was the most wonderful feeling in the world.”
Tracey Worth, of Falcon Way, Kenton, the kitchen manager at Preston Park Primary School in College Road, Wembley, was one of the 21 participants along with year two teacher, Philip Minnaar.
She said: “I was so scared. I have never done anything like this before. My kids always said: ‘Why are doing this? You won’t even go on a ferris wheel’. It’s true, I’d always said it’s not safe, but St Luke’s is a great charity and they say life begins at 40 and I’m 42 and this was something different.”
Tracey’s total of £1,100 was boosted by a fun non-uniform day at her school that raised £520.
Tracey added: “After we landed, I got up and said, ‘I’m alive’. It was brilliant and I’m still buzzing even now.”
Rain threatened to cancel the jump before the grey clouds suddenly disappeared and the fundraisers prepared to plunge out of the doors at 11,000ft.
They were freefalling through the clouds for up to seven seconds, covering 6,000ft, before their instructors pulled their parachute and they floated to earth, taking in some breathtaking views.
Others taking part included Danielle Mullins, a 27-year-old office manager who was terrified but conquered her fear to jump as part of a team in memory of her grandfather Bob Mullins.
Twins Stacey, a hairdresser at Fusion salon in Streatfield Road, Harrow, and Leanne McDonagh tackled the challenge in memory of their late father, Terry McDonagh, who died from cancer in August last year, aged 49, having entered St Luke’s hospice as an in-patient a few weeks earlier.
The skydive on the morning of Saturday, April 21, brought in more than £12,000 for St Luke’s Hospice, which the Observer is supporting through our Showing We Care readers’ campaign.