Did you read the story reported last week, the one about the lady being told she couldn’t sky dive because she was too old? All that work, and £500 raised for the CLIC Sargent charity which helps children and young people who have cancer, and she wasn’t allowed to jump on account of her age.

Every day, 10 kids learn that they have cancer. So providing support seems like a good cause.

That aside, Fiona Duff, who is in her mid-fifties, went through the anguish of deciding to jump out a perfectly good aeroplane, and find out for herself if gravity is just a theory or if it’s a fact.

(Trust me, Ms Duff. The earth sucks.)

Meanwhile, another lady from South Queensferry, who is just the wrong side of her forties, is putting herself through the same anguish. Fiona Riley is going to take the jump – well, plummet, actually – for MacMillan Cancer Care.

Well, I have some news. I’ve done a bit of parachute jumping in my time. Just two stories… One person, having landed safely, bundled up her canopy and then wandered across the runway and was almost mown down by the aircraft sha had jumped from as it came in to land.

Another jumper (aka meat-bomb) landed safely, though it was on flat roof of a factory. She was fine, until she ran round her canopy (as you are trained) to flatten it and stop it from re-inflating. The result? She ran right off the roof and broke her ankle.

Let me just say that the people involved in both these incidents were in their early twenties. I’m sure that somebody with more experience – for that, read older – wouldn’t do something so stupid.

Apart from anything else, in 2004 Frank Moody from Australia completed a tandem jump from 10,000 feet after his friends dared him to do it. Frank, by the way, was 101 years of age. And he loved it.

Both Freefall Fionas will be jumping at some point in the future. Ladies, I salute your courage, and your charitable work.

If you know either of these ladies, slip them a few pounds for the charity. Perhaps even think about doing something similar yourself, whatever your age!

Though it may not seem like it now, ladies, once you’ve been in the wide blue sky and then floated to earth, you will experience a rush of euphoria like you have never felt before. And, as we used to tell the new jumpers: “Now you know why the birds sing!”

Drew McAdam


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