This weekend was the Pilgrimbandits Spartan tandem parachute jump at Netheravon in Wiltshire.
We held the record for tandem parachute jumps in one venue in 24 hours in 2013 and hoped to get it back, but the charity set up in memory of Simon Crossley smashed it days before. He was a lad who raised millions for cancer research before he died. It’s quite right his charity broke the record and raise loads of money for his cause.
The jump site is on Salisbury Plain. I’ve jumped there before and the weather has always been fantastic. Saturday was quite cloudy but very hot with quite a strong wind.
We soldiers don’t get sunburnt we just go brown, everyone else was getting burnt to a crisp including my mum!
Jump day is great, loads of people from the charity, lots of friends that have come to jump, raise money and have a really good time.
Before you can jump you have to do training - laying on the floor stretching and having your arms and legs pushed into positions you will assume when you are in the air. You are given your tandem partner based on a combination of your weight and his weight. When you land you want to be as light as possible! Jumping with me were Hari, a Gurkha double amputee, Tyler a rifleman double amputee and a friend called Alex Lewis. Alex is not military, but lost all four limbs and his lips to a flesh eating bug. He never lets injuries stop him.
There was a team from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, including Andrew, my solicitor. I have been trying to make him jump for ages but he’s always been on holiday. I was joking with him but he couldn’t afford not to jump this year because he must’ve spent thousands trying to avoid it in the past!
Duncan Bannatyne was there with his girlfriend. She was jumping on my lift, but it was the hundreds of other jumpers and spectators who make it such an absolutely brilliant day.
The wind got up too much at one point and there was a two hour delay. That doesn’t do much for the nerves of those who aren’t really looking forward to it! We managed to carry on by moving the landing point, avoiding buildings. It’s best to avoid buildings when skydiving!
We jumped from 15,000ft, the highest you can go in a plane without oxygen. When you are out and the chute is pulled, your tandem partner can bring you down quickly if you aren’t enjoying yourself, or loop round and round so that it takes ages to land. That’s me of course.
People worry about landing, but there is no need. The instructors are so skilful that they bring you down as softly as if you were sitting in an armchair, and a bit of wind makes it even easier.
I’m on 25 jumps now since I was injured and can’t wait to do the next.