After having lost our son Cameron just 4 days before his 16th birthday and two weeks after my gender reassignment surgery (GRS) my outlook on life has seriously changed. I have seen how we can be here one minute and gone the next and so i now have adopted the saying “Your only here once , Live life to the max !”
So one day whilst trying to think how i could try and the LGBT community a little voice in my head ( Probably Cameron egging me on? ) pointed me towards a skydive. Now you must understand i hate roller coasters and i will not jump off of the top diving board. I hear you saying “But wait a minute you climb masts for a living!” Well you’d be right but to me that is not on par with any of the aforementioned it’s just my job and somebody has to do it. I mentioned it to my wife Julie and she just looked at me like i had completely lost the plot and perhaps she was right?
I chose the charity Stonewall Scotland we because i admired what they stood for and the help and support they provided for the LGB community and they had recently added T ( trans ) to their remit. After trawling through the internet for hours i decided i was going to Jump with the help of Skydive St Andrews but unlike the way they described it on their site i was going to pay for my jump myself as it was on my bucket list of stupid things to do before departing this world. After all why should the charity have to pay for my experience and lose out on extra funding ? One quick phonecall and a trip to the doctors for a medical certificate to say i was fit to jump and my fate was sealed. I would jump on Saturday 29th August 2015 weather permitting.
In the meantime i had to get start getting sponsored something which i never did very well at when i was at school barely managing to raise £20 – £30 . I decided to use the Just Giving website as i found out people could text donations and do it online with Paypal. Maybe this would help me get about £100 or so ? To my horror the site said my minimum target was £500 !!!! How in gods name was i going to manage that ? This is when i really started to think that maybe i had bitten off more than i could chew. In a panic after signing up to the site i made up and printed out some sponsor forms and took them to work with me on the off chance that someone would sponsor me. I wasn’t sure about the fishermen around the North East of Scotland as i had envisaged that when they asked what it was for and i told them for Stonewall Scotland an LGBT charity they would politely decline.
How wrong was i ? I had fishermen , Vessel owners & Offices sponsoring me left right & center right up until the point of my jump. I thrashed my £500 target set by Just Giving and raised a massive £2,310.00 which is 462% of my target. I was so proud but still very scared of the jump to come.
The day of the 29th came and my wife Julie came with me to watch me and even then she later told me that she was convinced i would chicken out and land with the plane. We did a little training in the morning and i was selected as first to jump. My stomach sank as i climbed into the plane and it left the runway. In my head i was speaking to our son asking him “What have i gone and done ?” I could see him laughing and shouting in his usual joking tone “Way!” . It took about 20 minutes to get to 10000 feet from which point i was asked if i wanted to take the easy way down or the fun way. I thought he meant easy being a slow drift down with the chute and the fun way meaning weaving in and out etc with the chute. So i said “Well i’m here now and there’s no going back lets do the fun way.” Little did i realise when we fell from the plane that meant doing a somersault as we departed before free falling then the chute opening. We landed a tad too fast and hit the ground with a bit of a thump but what a buzz ! If you every get the chance to do a skydive just do it , You will not regret it. That said i still won’t go on a roller coaster or jump off the top diving board , But i would do this again.
I’d like to say a big thank you to all of those fishermen in the North East of Scotland that folk down south say would be narrow minded about LGBT issues etc compared to folk in the big cities , When in fact i can vouch for you that these guys are fantastic and streets ahead!
Thank you xoxo
You can watch my skydive below.