Right, a couple of years ago I blogged how it was an ambition of mine to do a sponsored skydive. I am scared witless of heights to the point where I can't look down from any great height but at my height it is no surprise that my head spins at being any higher than about six feet from the ground! Oddly enough, this doesn't apply when I'm on the back of a horse and considering I've ridden horses of 17.2hh then I do find that a bit strange to be honest.
Anyway.... Back to the skydiving lark. It has been playing on my mind for a good couple of years now but for one reason or another I have made excuses to myself as to why it wouldn't be possible or just put it to the back of my mind because at the time, it hasn't been possible. I had a conversation with some friends this weekend and during the conversation, it came up about things we'd love to do but haven't yet done or haven't had chance to do and to my surprise, a friend of mine answered that she too would love to do a sponsored skydive.
I put it down to her having had a drink so I text her earlier to say "Right, I will if you will. Shall we?!" to which her reply was "Well, I will if you will. So why not?"
After further discussion and a Google of a local and reputable skydiving centre, checking out their T&C's and generally looking in to it we have decided that it does look scary but also fun. It is late Sunday evening as I type this, on Monday morning I plan to phone them and check the health problems I have do not rule me out of doing a skydive. From what it says on their website it shouldn't but you never know.
If it does then it will be back to the drawing board for a fundrasing idea and I will be one very sad and peeved GND and I will demand sympathy in bucketloads so be prepared! ;-)
We have decided exactly when would be a good time to do it and that is sometime during April - July 2012. There are a couple of reasons for this, one of the biggest ones being the cost of a tandem skydive; £250 approximately.
Now, it does say on this skydiving website that most people deduct the cost from the monies raised which I think it is off to say the least! You don't fundraise for something and deduct the sponsor money surely?! That is not how I'd do it anyway and my friend agreed so for that reason we both need to save the fee to do it. This means any money raised, 100% of it goes to the chosen charities.
One of the other main reasons as that we are both scared enough about doing this without having to do it in the cold and grey. As my friend helpfully commented "GND, if we break our necks doing this we may as well break them on a sunny day with blue skies than on an overcast and miserable day, don't you think?"
Thanks for that dear friend....
We have both decided we'll do it through a Just Giving account as it's easy, secure and gives people reassurance that the money won't somehow 'go missing' as Just Giving are the ones who ensure the funds raised get paid directly to the charities chosen by the fundraiser. I never would do anything like that but sadly, too many people do by collecting for bogus charities or asking for charity collections and skimming the proceeds either partially or totally and as I'd want to raise as much as possible then I would like to do it in the most secure way possible.
It's also good in that it keeps a track for you of the amount raised and allows other people to see how much is being raised and means a link can be emailed, pasted and passed round the internet endlessly which is the main thing as the internet is such a massive tool. It is also anonymous so if people want to donate and would like to keep their privacy, that is still possible.
It's trusted by over 9,000 charities and they do Gift Aid so 100% of the donation goes straight to the chosen charity with no fees or tax taken from it. I have a bit of a dilemma in that there are four charities that hold a place in my heart for various reasons so either I would have to raise a stupendous amount to make it worth donating funds to them or place the four names in a hat (I can now legitimately tell my boyfriend my top hat has a true use other than occasional wear!) and randomly pick two of them.
The charities are below:
The Police Dependants Trust - A charity that does valuable work for police officers and their families, in their words "The Police Dependants' Trust exists to assist in cases of need: dependants of police officers or former police officers who die or have died as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty; and police officers or former police officers who are, or have been incapacitated as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty." I have four friends who are police officers (don's ask me how on my way through life so far I've done that, I've no idea how I managed to collect the random reprobates!) and I'd like to think that if anything happened to them, they or their families/partners would be supported as well as all the other police officers in the U.K who I believe do valuable work that is not exactly easy to carry out at times and in general, one of the most thankless professions out there.
The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund - They provide financial support, give valuable advice and direction to anyone who has suffered an equestrian related accident be it private or at a public event. I ride and I know how painful a simple fall can be. Having once had a neauseatingly frightening fall 15 years ago from a usually quiet and steadfast horse I know how scary it can be. I was riding in an arena when somebody decided to bang a shovel against one of the indoor arena's corrugated sliding doors.
I just happened to be riding past at the time, the horse I was riding reared straight up and took me completely off gaurd and I was flung 15 feet across an arena and landed straight down on to my back. For 20 minutes I couldn't feel anything below my waist and they were the longest, most frightening 20 minutes of my life.
It eventually turned out that I had only suffered severe bruising and the fact I hadn't tensed when falling had probably saved me any broken bones.
I was sent home with painkillers, strict instructions not to ride straight away and general remarks of me being very lucky indeed. I would like to think that if anything similar happened ro me again or a friend, there would be somehwere we could turn to for advice and support if the worst happened.
Help For Heroes - They don't need any explanation and do exactly what it says on the tin. They provide excellent help and support for those injured on the frontline, be it in the form of physio for a temporary injury or ongoing help for a lifechanging one and support for the families of those injured as well.
Arthritis Research UK - I know somebody young who has had problems with this disease on and off since the age of six and if a cure can be found, particularly for childhood arthritis then that is my sincere hope. The fact babies can develop it makes me wish all the more that a cure or a way of halting the damage it can do to young joints is found.
So, that's the charities and other details out of the way. Now for the sponsorship....
When I come to do this would my lovely, wonderful, amazing (and all other flattering words!) readers be prepared to sponsor me and once the link is up and running, pass that around to as many people as possible?
As well as printing off the Just Giving page and pinning it up in any relevant place so people can copy down the address or access it via their iPhones or Blackberry's and donate there and then?
Ideally I would like to raise enough to make it possible to divide the total raised amount between all four charities but I will probably randomly pick two just in case I don't manage to raise enough.
I don't care how little anyone sponsors me as every little helps but the fact I'm scared out of my tiny, tiny mind of heights and have a fear of flying but am willing to do this to raise hopefully a decent amount of money for very worthy causes makes me hope that there are readers out there who'd sponsor me more than 50p to do it!
And if you don't, well, get off my blog! ;o)
I will keep you all updated as to how the planning goes because in my mind, I've already signed myself up to do this.
It's just the organisation of it now and the waiting and trying not to get scared to the point I hide under the bed playing the 'lalalalalala you're not here and I can't hear you trying to coax me out' game :-D.
Oh, and breaking the news to the boyfriend and my family, mainly my mum who thinks that I am as delicate as I look and will break at the slightest knock or bash against a solid object.
If she knew half of the scrapes I've got myself in to and out of over the years she would not have this idea but I feel it's best to save her a few grey hairs and let her live in blissful ignorance of the various silly, reckless but fun things I've done or been dragged in to doing by various friends.