3 November 2022
The doors open on the plane in mid-air. You shuffle out before freefalling for 45 seconds, heart-pumping, the ground rushing to meet you. Earlier this year, eight staff from Southampton Children’s Hospital took on the challenge of a lifetime braving a tandem skydive in support of their patients.
Katie Watts, trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner, and Alexa Patten, Nursing Associate, explain:
“It was fifth time lucky for our skydive as other attempts had been postponed due to Covid-19 and the lockdowns and poor weather in 2020 and 2021. This time, nothing would stop us!
Alexa, Amy, Chloe and I from the G3 paediatric orthopaedic ward, physiotherapists Nicky and Catherine, and occupational therapists Becca and Georgia braved the skies.
It was a brisk but sunny day, and I think we were all still in denial until we were actually on the plane.
I kept looking at my instructors watch which was measuring the altitude. The numbers slowly kept creeping upwards, although when you know you about to jump out of plane, the height really seems a lot more than when you are on the ground.
As soon as we hit 13,500 feet, the doors opened and there was no going back.
We shuffled towards the edge of the plane, and I was concentrating so much on what they had taught us that when we tipped out of the plane and all I could see was the ground, the instructor had to remind me what to do with my hands to steady ourselves.
The freefall went so quickly. It was hard to breathe as we were falling so fast, and it was surprisingly loud with the air rushing past us.
Then suddenly the parachute opened, and we slowed down. We were gliding over the countryside, but it was so quiet and peaceful, almost eerily so after the first part of the jump. You could see for miles around it was such an amazing experience.
We each had a different coloured parachute, so when I looked down, I could see everyone else floating to the ground. Our friends and family were on the ground, and when we were close enough, all we could hear was them cheering us on.
It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was floating on air for the whole day, and I couldn’t believe we’d finally done it. I felt so proud of myself and my team, especially as I hate flying and heights. It surprised me how much I liked it!”
Congratulations to the jump for G3 ladies who raised over £4,700 for Southampton Hospitals Charity and the G3 ward.
Skydive for the NHS
Skydiving is without doubt one of the most thrilling activities you can ever take part in!
If this has inspired you to take on a skydive, or to book one for someone else, Southampton Hospitals Charity is holding a special day in March, July, and September 2023 for anyone wishing to take on the challenge.