The Eagle Has LandedPublish Date: Tue 7th May 2019
The Eagle Has Landed
Would you jump out of a plane at the age of 77?
Probably not. But you’re not Past Grand President David Taylor who, in March, completed his first sky dive to raise funds for charity, including Brain Tumour Research, in memory of his daughter Sue Blasotta.
Some five years before she passed away at the age of 42, Sue did a skydive in aid of Cancer Research UK because she and her family had lost loved ones to the disease. Since Sue died, David, a member of Highgate Circle, has been raising money, including for a charity he established in memory of his daughter called In Sue’s Name. More than 16,000 people in the UK are diagnosed each year with a brain tumour. Fewer than 20% survive beyond five years.
Prior to the recent skydiving initiative, the charity had raised more than £175,000. The goal is to raise £1 million by 2027. As for the skydiving event, David and the collected skydivers hoped to amass to £40,000. The money generated will help to fund a research student at the Blizard Institute which is researching glioblastoma stage 4.
Of the jump, David says: “It was very exciting, very exhilarating. You’re going down at 120 mph from 13,000 ft.”
On his own, David has raised more than £15,000 from the sky dive. “A lot of that has come from Catenians. Over a period of time, I have built up a lot of good friends in the Catenians.”
The tandem jump was scheduled to take place at the Hinton Aerodrome, Brackley, in Northamptonshire on 15 March. Due to bad weather it was delayed for a couple of days and, because of the postponement, there are still a handful of people left to jump.
So, what was it like to drop 5,000 feet in 15 seconds?
“It’s quite surreal. Because when you’re jumping out of the plane, the cameraman is hanging on with one hand to the edge of the plane while he’s pointing the camera at you. And then you’re going through the clouds and then out of the clouds comes this man with a camera in your face like the angels are coming to take you away. But then you swoop down gently. I had a lovely landing.”
He adds: “It was a great experience and the money we’ve raised is amazing. We’ve over £43,000 now.”
There will be another skydive next year, although David will not be taking part. Nevertheless, he hopes that Catenians will embrace the idea of the charitable skydive and sign up to do it.
As for David’s next challenge, he’s not resting on his laurels. He is planning to abseil down the Orbit in east London, home to the UK’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, at the age of 78.
“I’ve never been abseiling before. I can’t even go down stairs without getting giddy. I have a terrible fear of heights.”
For more information about In Sue’s Name, please visit http://www.insuesname.org/