She may have been a nervous tandem jumper this time last year, but now one dedicated volunteer is calling on others to be a skydiving hero for EACH.
Tracy Stephens, 36, who has been a member of EACH’s Felixstowe Friends Group for about a year-and-a-half, booked to jump for the charity the day before one of its skydiving sessions in July last year, “literally so I didn’t have too much time to think about it and start trying to talk myself out of it”.
Taking the plunge turned out to be the start of a new passion for Tracy, though.
She said: “The whole experience was really easy. You had a safety talk before getting to meet your tandem instructor and getting on the plane. The instructor talked the whole process through with you and then the atmosphere in the plane was quite light and fun, despite the nerves.
“We jumped from 13,000ft. The initial exit from the plane takes your breath away, but in a good way. Free fall lasts about 50 seconds and is an amazing experience with the most incredible views – there’s no way to explain free-falling at 120mph! Once under canopy, again the views are amazing and you have that bit more time to take in what’s going on around you and enjoy the complete silence. It’s so peaceful. The whole experience from start to finish was amazing. As soon as I was on the ground I knew immediately I had to jump again.”
Tracy did two more tandem skydives, raising over £450 for EACH, and then started learning to jump solo in October. She graduated UK Parachuting’s Accelerated Free Fall course, that consists of eight levels with instructors and 10 consolidation jumps, in just seven weeks!
EACH’s skydiving sessions at Beccles Airfield this year are taking place on Sunday, 6 May and Sunday, 6 September.
Those wishing to take part can pay a £50 deposit, then £150 on the day and raise a minimum £100 sponsorship, or pay a £50 deposit, then raise at least £300 sponsorship and use half to pay on the day. For more details, including how to book, go to www.each.org.uk.
Anyone not sure about skydiving for EACH can still support the good cause by taking part in various other events or by volunteering.
Tracy, when not enjoying her new hobby or at work for Felixstowe Port Container Services, is often found helping out at the charity’s community events alongside her husband, Justin.
She said: “We got involved volunteering for EACH because we had some spare time and decided to try and give something back. We really enjoy it and get to meet lots of people.”
For more information about volunteering for EACH in the community, contact Georgia Memory, the charity’s Suffolk Fundraising Assistant, on 01473 917965 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.