Supergran on a high after skydive from 15,000 feet in aid of Northumberland hospice

A great-grandmother celebrated her 73rd birthday by jumping out of a plane from 15,000 feet.

By Ian Smith
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 10:44 am

Joan Ford, from Longhoughton, did a sponsored tandem skydive at Shotton Colliery in County Durham on May 12.

She has now raised nearly £1,000 for HospiceCare North Northumberland.

"I was originally going to do it from 10,000 feet which I thought was quite high but they offered me the chance to go from 15,000 feet which offers twice the freefall time,” said Joan.

Joan Ford doing her skydive.

"You get about two minutes before they pull the main chute and I thought, ‘well, I’m not likely to do this ever again’ and went for it.”

She continued: "It took about 15 minutes to get up to the required height and then they open the door and the cold air hits you. It was when other people started to fall that I began wondering if I was doing the right thing.

"But it was fine. You get a massive adrenalin rush and then it’s a very strange feeling as you fall. It doesn’t feel like you’re flying, more like floating.

"I told my instructor, Nick, to take it easy so we did a few little manoeuvres in the air.

Joan Ford, 73, from Longhoughton, on her 15,000 ft skydive.

"It was a beautiful clear blue sky but at one point we fell through cloud which was quite amazing, like falling through cotton wool.

"When he pulled the chute I got a little pull up but nothing uncomfortable and then we had a nice, soft landing.

"It was a great experience and while I probably wouldn’t do it again I am glad that we’ve raised almost £1,000.

"We had some friends there too and had a little picnic afterwards – although I couldn’t really stomach much!”

All set to jump.

Joan, who had breast cancer 14 years ago, wanted to raise money for the hospice to help it through the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic when so many fund-raising activities were cancelled.

She had planned to do the jump on her 70th and 71st birthdays only to have to pull out while last year’s plan was cancelled because of Covid-19.

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Joan Ford's skydive certificate.

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A safe landing.