Jill Jeffery is terrified of heights but braved jumping 15,000 ft from a plane to raise money for PF Trust. At the time of writing this, Jill’s jump has raised over an amazing £3250 which will help go towards changing people’s lives who are diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.
Jill kindly sent us her reasons why she wanted to face her fears and achieve this inspirational fundraising effort.
It is now 12 months since my husband, Norman, lost his battle and I felt that I needed to do something in his memory and to try to repay the kindness and support that we both received from the Trust. I wanted to do something that was outside of my own comfort zone and that no other family members had undertaken so I ended up deciding that a sponsored parachute jump ticked all the boxes.
I went to have a look at the Hinton Skydive Centre near Brackley; it is the nearest one to my home and a centre that offers tremendous support to somewhat first timers like me. The date was booked, deposit paid and sponsorship plans were put in place – there was now no turning back.
Before the big day arrived I went through many different emotions ranging from insane excitement to outright terror as I have a real fear of heights. I must admit that the nearer the date became the greater the “what have I done” syndrome became; was I really going to jump out of an aeroplane at 15,000 feet??
3rd May dawned dry and quite sunny, all very promising. I arrived at the airfield in plenty of time to get kitted up and receive last minute instructions. Then the big moment had arrived; definitely no way out now as we climbed steeply to the jump height. A tap on the shoulder from my instructor indicating 1 minute to go, a quick check that Normans photo that I had with me was still safely fixed and suddenly we were shuffling forward towards the open door. I looked down on the clouds when someone screamed “GO” and that was it; we summersaulted out of the aircraft. I was trying to catch my breath and remember what now seemed like a million and one instructions as we went into an endless freefall; should I open my eyes?? should I? should I? – I allowed myself a quick peep but we were in cloud and I could feel rain on my face. The instructor did a couple of spins as we dropped out of the cloud at about 8500ft and then pulled the cord to open the parachute. The jolt as it stopped our fall was amazing, like hitting a wall in a car at 45mph I later learned; but the reward was stunning. Suddenly the rush of the air as we were freefalling was gone, we were floating down gently and I could see for miles. The instructor pointed our Silverstone Circuit and one or two other landmarks before I realised that the ground was coming up to meet us at a great rate.
I could see all 35 of my family and friends who had come along to cheer me on waiting and waving up at me. My young nieces and nephews were holding a massive banner with “SUPER HERO JILL” printed on it. Then we hit the ground – it was all over!!
I was soon back with everyone, a glass of bubbly was in my hand and there was huge excitement, endless questioning about “what was it like?” “did you enjoy it?” and “20,000ft next eh?”. On reflection now I can’t deny that it was a great experience; I am proud of myself for overcoming one of my greatest fears and think, certainly hope, that Norm would also be proud of me. I don’t think he would believe it actually.
At the time of writing this my jump has raised over £3250; I know Norm would be pleased with that!! Would I do another jump?? Well, I don’t know …….. I think I would probably knit a woolly toy and raffle it!!!!
Thanks to all of you that supported me with donations and thanks again to everyone at the TrustJill