Big Issue Foundation

Tom Belte – Area Service Broker for the Midlands – jumps out of a plane for us

My biggest memory of the day I skydived for The Big Issue Foundation, and the memory that will always stay with me, was weirdly the 5 minutes before I jumped out of the plane. We had climbed steadily to just under 13,000 feet and the instructor at the front of the plane looked back at us and did the ‘5 minute’ shout and hand at us all, and the instructors to which we were attached to all nodded back like professionals. I looked at my girlfriend who all of sudden had shredded her nervousness in to smiling back at me whilst I took some big deep breaths and memorised my actions for when we were about to jump.

It was simple, hands in, hands out and hands back in again – that’s all I had to remember to get the best out of the experience and the instructor said it would be easy. I looked out of the window; the patchwork of stamp sized fields was magnificent. We had a perfect day, the good weather allowed us to see 85 mile views; I noticed a reflection on the skyline to the left and couldn’t explain it. Stuart, my instructor, then informed me it was the Welsh coast line, so that was pretty mind-blowing. By this point my throat was dry with adrenaline; I was ready to go by that point and had managed to drive out my nerves into excitement.

The door opened and my heart was going really fast, I watched Hannah, my girlfriend’s sister, jump out of the plane. Then it was my turn, we shuffled to the door and I kept my eyes open to gather what I was about to witness. We hung out of the door and then it happened. I was falling in style and at the speed of 120mph. I kept my head up, stared out at the distance and took the whole experience in. I was skydiving!

My biggest memory of the day I skydived for The Big Issue Foundation, and the memory that will always stay with me, was weirdly the 5 minutes before I jumped out of the plane. We had climbed steadily to just under 13,000 feet and the instructor at the front of the plane looked back at us and did the ‘5 minute’ shout and hand at us all, and the instructors to which we were attached to all nodded back like professionals. I looked at my girlfriend who all of sudden had shredded her nervousness in to smiling back at me whilst I took some big deep breaths and memorised my actions for when we were about to jump.

It was simple, hands in, hands out and hands back in again – that’s all I had to remember to get the best out of the experience and the instructor said it would be easy. I looked out of the window; the patchwork of stamp sized fields was magnificent. We had a perfect day, the good weather allowed us to see 85 mile views; I noticed a reflection on the skyline to the left and couldn’t explain it. Stuart, my instructor, then informed me it was the Welsh coast line, so that was pretty mind-blowing. By this point my throat was dry with adrenaline; I was ready to go by that point and had managed to drive out my nerves into excitement.

The door opened and my heart was going really fast, I watched Hannah, my girlfriend’s sister, jump out of the plane. Then it was my turn, we shuffled to the door and I kept my eyes open to gather what I was about to witness. We hung out of the door and then it happened. I was falling in style and at the speed of 120mph. I kept my head up, stared out at the distance and took the whole experience in. I was skydiving!

The parachute opened and a silence of serenity hit me, I could see for miles and I felt literally on top of the world. I was allowed to steer for a bit too which was good fun.

We landed to friends and family cheering; I was bouncing all over the place. I then thought back to why I was doing it for The Big Issue Foundation, only 2 days before I had walked home and stopped at one of our vendor’s pitches who wished me good luck. He was working hard and earning, it felt like the right thing to do at the time as we said our goodbyes and a promise to catch up on the Monday to tell him how it went. I felt proud to raise money to continue to help our hardworking Big Issue vendors. Jumping out a plane, although it is a bit barmy, in hindsight it was completely worth it.

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

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