EVER wondered what it would be like to throw yourself out of a plane 13,000 feet up in the air?
Skydiving sounds truly terrifying to most people and that includes Wrexham’s Richard Jones who last week took on the challenge for charity - raising money for Hope House Children’s Hospice in Oswestry.
By his own admission, Richard, 35, is ‘slightly afraid of heights’ ... so how would he feel when the dreaded moment came to freefall out of the sky?
This is his ‘final moments’ experience at Tilstock Parachute Club near Whitchurch...
From the moment my name was called out over the tannoy – telling me meet my instructor – that was the moment the penny dropped.
I'm about to be thrown out of plane at 13,000 feet.
But also from that exact moment the adrenaline kicked in. I became a bumbling idiot and I couldn't wait to get up there and jump.
Everything went quickly – from picking out my jumpsuit to getting the harness on.
Before I knew it I was standing outside the plane.
I took one last deep breath, smiled and climbed aboard.
Everyone followed behind me and we squeezed in like sardines. They were all talking, laughing and joking. Except me.
I sat in silence trying to take in the whole experience – the sights, the sounds... and remembering to breath.
After 15 minutes of flying, I get a tap on the shoulder to say we were half way up so my instructor starts to tighten all the straps.
Another deep heartbeat and I accepted that the only way off this plane is through that door at the back.
But it's okay, I was sat at the front of the plane so I had time to see people jump before me.
Then, at 13,000 feet, the back door opens. One by one, everyone jumps out.
It’s the most surreal experience to witness people just disappear out of an open door and fall faster than you can look out of the window. Gone into the clouds.
Then it's my turn.
Me and my instructor shuffle ourselves to the open door and I am pushed out left hanging outside of the plane. My legs dangle a few hundred meters above the clouds as my instructor positions himself.
The last sound I hear is "put your head back". And then I’m out!
We're falling at 133 mph. We roll and I see the plane disappear out of sight. Then I face forward.
The wind roaring as we fall, all I could do was cheer and scream at the top of my voice. My arms reached out in front of me waving around in sheer excitement.
My instructor has full control and starts spinning me round in different directions.
In 30 seconds, we've already fallen 6,000 feet and my instructor taps me on the shoulder for me to get my hands in.
I grasp my harness and then everything stops as the parachute opens.
We glide out of the clouds peacefully and all I can see is the sheer beauty of the Shropshire country side, looking out as far as the eye could see.
Everything's silent and you start to appreciate why so many people prefer to spend their time floating a mile above the ground in the company of their own minds, away from the pressure and energy of everyday life.
As the ground edges closer we turn to face our landing spot and I lift my legs to prepare for landing.
As quick as it started, it was over.
I was on the ground giggling with the biggest smile on my face. I couldn’t be any happier or prouder for what I had just done.
Everyone on the ground threw high fives and hugs. There is buzz on everyone's faces.
Having lived that moment for a couple of minutes gives you that excited feeling of achievement and I wanted to do it all again.
Richard has so far raised £800 for Hope House Children’s Hospice.
Anybody wanting to support Richard’s cause can donate at www.justgiving.com/Richard-Jones9980
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald