Pocklington School Sixth Form pupils, Ben Burton and Noah Parkinson are delighted to have each completed a tandem skydive to raise funds for the charity MIND.
MIND offers advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Ben commented: “We chose MIND because we both felt that men’s mental health in the UK is something completely overlooked, and we wanted to do our part in raising awareness. We thought a skydive would raise a lot of support and as much money as possible.”
The pair set up a JustGiving page and used social media to circulate the details, asking friends to share it as much as possible.
Ben said: “After four incredible days we had raised £1,100, receiving donations from friends and family, some friends neither of us have spoken to for years, which I think really shows the power of social media when raising awareness.”
With the fundraising on track, all Ben and Noah had to do, was to complete the skydive; a big ask for any novice, but even more so if like Noah, you have a fear of heights! After a postponement for poor weather and fears that coronavirus would put pay to the jump altogether, the boys were eager and nervous to complete the task. Finally, on Wednesday 4 November, a day drenched in glorious sunshine, Ben and Noah received the good news that the jump was on and accompanied by parents, siblings and friends, they all travelled to Bridlington.
Ben said: “We both felt fine when first waking up, however the drive to Bridlington was when I started to realise what I had got myself into. After getting suited up, we said a goodbye to everyone who came and we got on the plane. I’ve realised that both of us cope with nervous situations in the same way - and that is talking nonsense! The instructors were so nice and they managed to calm us down and have a joke with us!”
Recollecting the skydive Ben said: “Noah jumped first and I saw him shoot out of the plane and heard his scream go with him. My instructor then shuffled us along, told me to hang my legs out of the plane and put my head back. Before I knew it, I was plummeting at around 120mph towards the ground, which was such a strange, yet fun feeling. When pulling the parachute, there was a sigh of relief, and I could see Noah below. The instructor then asked if I wanted to take control and spin, and of course I said ‘yes’!
“After a long five minutes, it was time to land. Because I span for a short while, I overtook Noah and was set to land first. The instructor took the controls back and then we slid to the ground slowly. It’s safe to say my landing was a bit smoother than Noah’s! One thing that surprised me was how calm the instructors were. Obviously, they have done it many times before but the fact they were able to have a joke with us was really helpful during the flight up.”
Ben concluded: “Doing something like a skydive with one of my best friends for charity is something I’ll never forget; thank you to everyone who donated.”
Noah said: “Best experience of my life and one which I will cherish forever, and to do it with one of my best mates makes it all the sweeter”
Helen Alexander, I/c Charities and Deputy Head of Sixth Form at Pocklington School commented: “It is wonderful to see the Sixth Form students getting involved in fund raising for an amazing charity in their own time. This is a shining example of the giving back ethos we promote at the school! Well done boys!”
Ben and Noah are delighted that their tandem skydives have so far raised over £1320. Their JustGiving page remains live and donations can still be made.