Friday 20th September 2019 12:00
Fifteen Thames Water daredevils didn’t let a little date like Friday the 13th of September stop them jumping out of a plane at 10,000ft to raise money for six Swindon charities.
The team from the water company’s Walnut Court office in Swindon put superstition aside and bravely took part in a parachute jump at Skydive London in Wanborough on what many people consider the unluckiest day of the year.
Strapped to a skydive instructor, they each enjoyed a 30-second freefall at 120mph before a more leisurely descent of about five minutes over the spectacular Wiltshire countryside after the canopy opened.
Despite the date, the team of Harriet Keyser, Danielle Nevison, Angel Ayim, Lesley Hall, Nicola Eyre, Regan Newman, Jordan Hale, Candice Maxwell, David Farrar, Joshua Ritchings, Laura Collett, Matthew Peapell, Tracy Ockley and Troy De Souza, all landed safely – and with huge smiles on their faces.
They are hoping to raise a total of £6,000 for six staff-nominated good causes - mental health charity Phoenix Enterprises, dementia charity Mindsong, LGBTQ+ youth group Out of the Can, homeless charities Swindon Night Shelter and Big Breakfast Plus, and substance abuse charity the Nelson Trust.
The jump on Friday, September 13, had a huge impact on those taking part. Matthew Peapell said: “Skydiving is a mental game on the ground, but nothing prepares you for the jump. Once you're up there the process becomes easy and enjoyable.
“My instructor and I sang at 5,000ft after the parachute opened and then corkscrewed six times. Now I'm officially an adrenaline junkie and want to do it again - get me back on that plane!
“Thank you to everyone who came to support, has donated to the amazing charities and for the most amazing colleagues who jumped with me. I'd recommend this unforgettable experience to anyone.”
Helen Dean, from Walnut Court, who helped organise the event, said: “Representatives from each of the charities came along on the day, and helped make it a great success.
"Despite some obvious nerves beforehand, not least because of the date, every single one of the jumpers said it was one of the most exciting and exhilarating things they had ever done. Their target is about £6,000 and so far they've raised around £3,000."