"From a very young age I remember my mum telling me stories about her older brother who had completed parachute jumps when he was in the army and I had declared many a time that 'I would love to do that but I don’t think I am brave enough'.
"I sadly lost my mum to cancer in February 2013 and I came to work for Sobell six months later. From my own experience of seeing my lovely mum face fear every day during her illness and bravely cope with everything that it threw at her it felt like the right thing to do when I was given the chance to face my own fears and do a tandem skydive.
"I can’t lie, I didn’t sleep for about 3 days after first signing up especially as my original date to jump was the 13th September and I am very superstitious! As it happened, the weather was on my side that day and the jump was delayed due to rain and cloud. This was the hardest part as I was mentally preparing myself and then it didn’t happen…not to mention the hundreds of texts and phone calls to find out if I was jumping….but…it was rescheduled and off I went again …and of course it gave me a bit longer to raise sponsorship.
"So the next scheduled date was a Sunday…again I got up early waiting for the call to say yes or no…but the cloud came down and the jump was postponed again but they advised that the weather was looking favourable for the Tuesday ..so I booked the day off and waited…
"The phone call came early…it’s on!
"I set off with my dad to the airfield…strangely not feeling nervous…just excited.
"On reaching the airfield I met with my fellow 'jumpers' and signed in and got weighed (the worst bit of the day!). From the second I got there all the staff did everything they could to put us all at ease…so by the time we were actually ready to go it felt like the most natural thing in the world!
"I waved goodbye to dad, climbed aboard the plane and that was it…we were off!
"It had been decided that I would be the first of our group to jump so I was at the front of 'seating area' in the plane, with a few people sitting on the floor in front of us. They apparently were jumping on their own and had just come for the lift up!
"I will never forget that moment when they rolled the door up for the first time and I looked out…everything in my head and body was screaming at me 'they’ve just opened the door on the plane' …'you can’t do that'…. and it did look a long way down!
"Next thing, one of the 'sitting' people dangled his legs out the door, smiled, gave a thumbs up and fell out the door……casually the others rolled the door back down and carried on chatting…surreal!
"One by one the others did the same until it was my turn.
"I had decided that whatever I felt like I was going to keep my eyes open at all times to savour every second as I fully expected never to do this again! But still no nerves… I just couldn’t wait to find out what it felt like. So there I was, dangling out the door, strapped to a man I had only just met…and about to find out!
"I am sure we were only there for a second but at that moment, way up above the clouds I felt so close to my mum and knew she would be looking after me.
"Then, whoosh…we did a forward roll and were freefalling! Just thinking about it now gives me goosebumps..it was truly amazing and I was grinning from ear to ear and that wasn’t just the g-force! There is nothing to compare it to but it was incredible, noisy and so exhilarating falling, flying, touching clouds!
"Next thing the parachute opened and everything went instantly quiet and slow motion giving me time to take in the view and chat to my instructor who I declared had the best job in the world!
"As we got nearer the ground I waved to dad and we gently glided in and landed…big hugs and declaration of undying love to my instructor from me for bringing us back down safely!
"So, if you are considering doing a jump for Sobell then go for it, I cannot recommend it enough and I truly believe everyone should touch clouds at least once in their life! I am sure mum would have been proud of me and I am glad the money I raised helped care for the patients of Sobell House."