Lifeboat volunteers brave skydive for life-saving charity

BARB Search and Rescue crewmembers Alan Heal and David Kemp.

BARB Search and Rescue crewmembers Alan Heal and David Kemp. - Credit: BARB Search and Rescue

BARB Search and Rescue crew members jumped from a plane at 15,000ft to raise more than £2,500 for the organisation at the weekend. 

Alan Heal and David Kemp of BARB, plus supporter Craig Kick, took on the skydive over Salisbury Plain on Saturday to collect vital funds for the charity, which operates life-saving hovercrafts and inshore rescue boats in Burnham. 

BARB crewmember Alan, aged 66, says given the challenges of the past year, the search and rescue service needs the support ‘more than ever’ and decided it would be a great way to give something back to the ‘amazing organisation’, which relies on donations to keep afloat. 

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal.

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal. - Credit: BARB Search and Rescue

He said: ”I have always wanted to do a skydive, and now that I've reached pension age it was now or never.  

“I'm not a good flyer and I am terrified of heights, so this was a huge challenge for me and completely out of my comfort zone. 

"In fact, on the day, I was more excited than nervous. The only brief moment of anxiety was when I put my legs out over the side of the plane, but I didn't have time to think about it as that was the point of no return.” 

So far, £1,175 has been raised by Alan Heal, £400 by Craig Kick and £415 by David Kemp. Derek Nijenhuis has also raised £550 so far, totalling £2,540 raised collectively between them, however, Derek’s skydive was delayed until later in the year for medical reasons. 

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal.

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal. - Credit: BARB Search and Rescue

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Alan added: "We free-fell down to 6,000ft for over a minute before my instructor pulled the rip chord and did a couple of twirls that felt like an extreme rollercoaster ride." 

"The views were simply stunning - we saw lots of impressive landmarks from a bird's-eye view, including Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Southampton in the distance.

"It was an amazing feeling - just stunning. There was a gentle glide down to the ground and it was a really smooth landing.

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal.

BARB Search and Rescue crewmember, Alan Heal. - Credit: BARB Search and Rescue

"I loved every moment of it and would 100 per cent do it again - it was a superb experience. My thanks go to everyone that has supported us and donated funds towards the life-saving work of BARB along our local coastline.” 

To support Alan, Craig, David and Derek’s skydive cause for BARB Search and Rescue, log on to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alan-Heal1? 

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