From our high-altitude helpdesk hero, Mike:
Well, I finally jumped out of a plane over Headcorn, near Maidstone, Kent. Although I was born in Wimbledon, which was Surrey at the time, my father and his forebears are Kentish Men, so I felt quite at home landing in the Weald.
It was an amazing experience and brought together lots of symbolic strands in my life: coming home (l lived on the Continent for over twenty years), a desire for speed and weightlessness, which is partially satisfied by regular swimming, cycling and running and last, but not least, raising money for Help the Aged through Justgiving.
Justgiving has been my livelihood for the past two years. Manning the Helpdesk telephone has brought me into contact with dozens of our fundraisers who have jumped for charity. They inspired me to do the skydive. Why not me, I thought? I’ve always wanted to do a parachute jump. And why Help the Aged? Have a look at my fundraising page www.justgiving.com/icarus. The ageing population is a reality facing the industrialised countries, so the level and quality of care available for the elderly is going to become increasingly important. And I’m one of the most aged Justgivers!
And Icarus? I lived for six years in Brussels, which is home to a Pieter Breughel masterpiece “The Fall of Icarus”, about which W.H. Auden wrote a wonderful poem Musée des Beaux Arts. So my skydive has flattered my vanity, but thanks to all my generous sponsors has not passed by unnoticed - unlike the Icarus of Breughel or Auden.
p.s. If you are a film buff like me and watch to the end of my video where I blabber on about A Matter of Life and Death then check out this wikipedia entry