Thank you to The Cab Driver newspaper for featuring our recent article by Taxi Charity chairman, Ian Parsons, about the skydiving wives - Anne Parsons and Susy Goodwin - who raised £7,000 for the Taxi Charity.
(You can read the full article below).
On Tuesday 9th July at Old Sarum Airfield, Anne Parsons and Susy Goodwin - aka “The Skydiving Wives” completed their long-awaited tandem skydive with the Red Devils.
Volunteer Taxi Charity driver Mickey Calvey was there (for his second jump) as was yours truly... well my wife was taking the plunge for our charity, so I thought I ought to join her and show willing!
Among our well-wishers was Susy’s husband, Dick, Frances Wyhowska and Jennie Flory.
Dick, as he always does at our charity events, captured the day’s proceedings on his camera. He is a Vice President of the Taxi Charity - as is Frances, who kept everyone on social media informed of the day's goings on, whilst Jennie (Taxi Charity fundraiser) provided enthusiastic support throughout.
The jump, originally booked for the 1st May, was postponed twice due to poor weather.
However, Anne and Susy used the ten-week delay to gain further funds. To date, they have raised a staggering £7,000 - and donations are still coming in.
Following registration, we, along with the dozen or so other tandem students at Old Sarum, listened attentively to the pre-jump briefing by the Red Devils, the British Army's parachute display team, widely regarded as the world's finest. It was reassuring to know we were in the safest of hands.
We got into our red jump suits, put on our head-wear, adjusted our goggles and our tandem harness were triple checked as secured. Finally, and most importantly, we were connected (at four points) to our appointed Red Devil.
It was back in October 2018, at the charity’s 70th anniversary party at Royal Hospital, Chelsea, that Anne and Susy agreed to do the jump. There was no going back now.
The aerodrome's field was our runway, so take off was a bit bumpy. As we gained height, the Red Devils calmly repeated their instructions for the final time, whilst constantly checking and rechecking their altitude wristwatches. We would be jumping at 12,000 feet.
As we flew through the clouds it was all smiles from our Daredevil Duo, no sign of nerves at all... and then someone opened the door! The moment of truth had arrived.
After that things happened fast. Mickey was first out of the plane with Susy following a few seconds later. And before I had the chance to say goodbye to Anne, she had disappeared out of the door too.
The adrenaline-fuelled experience begins the second you leave the plane. Believe you me, free-falling 7,000 feet at 120 mph in forty-five seconds certainly concentrates the mind. At 5,000 feet, with the clouds now above us, our parachutes were deployed.
"In the distance you could just make out Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight," said Anne. "And the views of Salisbury and the surrounding Wiltshire countryside were spectacular - if only I had been allowed to take my camera!"
Susy didn’t need a camera as she had opted to have her jump photographed and filmed by the Red Devils.
One by one we floated down, gently landing exactly where the ground crew were waiting for us - all thanks to the amazing skills of the Red Devils.
The jump was as exhilarating as it was poignant.
Susy carried veteran Ted Pieri's beret and his photo. Ted was the first person to do a fundraising skydive for the Taxi Charity and in doing so started the trend. He was a member of 250 Light Composite Coy. RASC. 1st Airborne Division. Ted passed away in January, aged 92.
His son, Ian, said, "My dad would have been absolutely thrilled and proud of you all. It was a pleasure for me to share my dad’s beret and wonderful and emotional to see Susy with his picture and his beret. It made my week."
Anne dedicated her jump to close family friend Major Justin van der Pant late 7 Para RHA, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 48.
Anne was extremely honoured to jump in his memory. His widow, Jennifer, said, "Justin would have been proud of you for being so brave and raising all that money. Well done Anne."
Would the ladies do it again? "Absolutely," said Susy, who clearly relished the idea of a second jump.
Not so Anne, who announced her immediate retirement from skydiving to instead pursue non-adrenalin challenges.
It was certainly an experience none of us will ever forget, though without question the day belonged Anne and Susy. Congratulations to you both and thank you from everyone at the Taxi Charity.
Special thanks to Sandy and all the staff at Click and Jump - and, of course, the Red Devils - for looking after us so well.