A Horsham engineer has jumped 10,000ft to raise money for charity in memory of his grandad.
Steve Shipp completed the sponsored tandem skydive in aid of the British Heart Foundation after losing his grandad to heart failure last December.
The 22-year-old, who works for the Horsham depot of gas distributors SGN, was afraid of heights and flying.
Nevertheless, he wanted to do something that would have made his grandfather proud in his honour. Steve has raised nearly £1300 so far with donations still coming in.
He said: “My grandad had four heart attacks and then last November he had a stroke. After everything he went through, it felt like the least I could do.”
Although the jump was cancelled five times due to adverse weather conditions, Steve continued to pursue his fundraising idea.
He finally got his chance at Chiltern Park in Oxfordshire.
“I’ve never been so scared in all my life,” he said. “Sitting on the edge of that plane, looking out onto nothing was surreal. I nearly backed out, but I’m glad I didn’t because when I actually jumped it was amazing – like a daydream.”
Friends, family and colleagues have responded generously to Steve’s courageous efforts with around £800 of sponsorship to date. The exact figure remains to be seen as the total is still growing.
SGN’s Into Action Fund, which supports employees engaging in charity work, has donated an additional £500 to the cause.
Steve said: “The last few months have been made a lot easier by the support of my family and my colleagues at Sussex depot, all of whom without exception sponsored me to make the jump.”
Steve has now conquered his fears and plans to continue fund-raising for the national charity in other ways. For his next project he is hoping to try wing-walking on a Second World War Stearman biplane.
More information on how to support the British Heart Foundation as a ‘Heart Flyer’ or through other challenges can be found at www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events.