chris hemsworth’s stunt double – skydiving – clouds

good morning,

first things first, thanks.

last week was potentially very scary for me, very much like the first time i freefall skydived through clouds.

having completed my accelerated freefall course in sun drenched florida and receiving my ‘a’ license i set about jumping as much as time and budget would allow.

it was my tenth jump, i remember it well as when i went to collect my parachute, the young girl behind the counter offered me rig number 13, and sent the amygdala in my brain jumping into fight or flight mode, oh the irony.

i am quite superstitious, a trait built and leftover from my ice hockey days, left skate first, left leg pad first, etc, etc.

this superstition thing was ridiculous, and built on fable, number 13 is unlucky, and if i take parachute 13 i will surely fall to my death, such was its power and influence.

stop being a knob, and take the parachute, she is looking at you weird i told myself.

“thanks” i offered her as payment for this freshly packed bright blue canopy, that if used correctly would facilitate my safe descent to earth after plummeting at terminal velocity, which we all know is 120 miles per hour.

my heart raced.

number bloody 13.

i negotiated with my emotional brain, and stepped into the harness, proud of my control of the situation.

i climbed into the propeller powered aircraft with nine other jumpers, and the smell of aviation fuel invaded my nostrils, and even today on commercial flights, normally at the top of the metal steps leading up to the aircraft, i smile when i smell that pungent odour.

i looked around the aircraft at my fellow thrill seekers, very aware that in my student jumpsuit and ugly boy helmet and plastic goggles i stood out from the cool kids, in their mostly black full face helmets that i longed to be allowed to wear.

“what number?”

the ruggedly handsome, black helmeted chris hemsworth stunt double in my head, asked.

“10” i offered in what i intended to sound like my impression of arnold schwarzegger, but unfortunately squeaked out more like mickey mouse.

“how are you going to exit?”

“hold on to the outside of the plane, do checks, and jump”

“nice, try swimming pool diving”

“how does that work?” i asked, at the same time as my brain was shuddering at the thought.

“as the plane slows just dive out like you’re diving into a pool, you’ll love it”

from nowhere, knob jeff appeared, wanting to impress hemsworth’s stunt double, “i love it”

i didn’t love it, i hated it, why did alpha male jeff need to get involved, this always happens.

as we climbed higher, so did my heartrate.

here i was at 13000 feet above the ground wearing parachute number 13, with chris hemsworth’s stunt double expecting me to dive out of the aircraft.

the engines slowed their roar and the light in the aircraft went green.

“number one in the door”

hemsworth’s stunt double winked and smiled at me.

i smiled back, “i hate you hemsworth’s stunt double” i said, in my head.

i approached the door.

and dived.

it worked.

i flattened my body, stabilising myself, and taking control of the jump, checking my wrist mounted altimeter, all good, looked around the sky, all clear as i was the first out, i checked below me.



nobody had ever told me about clouds.

and they were coming toward me, fast.

oh man i hope this works out.

as the cloud enveloped me i went cold, the temperature dropped significantly and i could see nothing, then after what seemed like ages, but was probably only a few seconds, i reappeared into the bright sunshine and clear skies.

check altimeter, all good.

prepared to pull my chute, looked around, waved clear, found my handle and pulled.

my body jolted, and the wind filled the canopy, as i checked, it was a perfect shape.

i pulled my toggles free, and did some basic flying manoeuvres to check the steering.

all good, and as the hot sun shone down on me, i silently drifted to an uneventful landing.

as i gathered up my silk wing i heard a loud swooshing noise from above as hemsworth’s stunt double swooped in like an eagle.

as i faffed around unceremoniously picking up swathes of silk, trying not to trip up, hemsworth’s stunt double walked past “how was it?”

“amazing” i replied.

he did a skydivers hand signal and smiled as he said “blue skies” and was gone.

when i publicised my parkinson’s disease, and wrote last weeks blog i felt like i was back in those clouds, cold, blind, unsure of what the outcome would look like, but the outpouring of love and kindness from people, made me feel the same warmth as the sun on jump number 10, and the fear has now gone, and i know it was the right decision.

so from my heart to yours thank you, for reading and supporting me on this journey, sometimes you’ve just gotta jump.

next week how we raised over one million pounds in 486 days.

until then,

blue skies,


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