Adrenaline junkies love the thrill of soaring from the skies from a parachute - but like any high risk sport, things can sometimes go wrong especially if there is an awkward landing.
Thrillseekers who enjoy parachute jumping always hope they will never need the services of North West Air Ambulance’s helicopters, but feel comfort from knowing they would be in safe hands if an emergency ever occurred.
This was the basis of an unusual parachute jump carried out by a team of 10 people who took to the skies in bikinis before making their dive.
Tom Bartlett, 22, who has recently graduated with a First in software engineering from the University of Central Lancashire, was one of those who took part.
He chose to complete his bikini skydive in a pair of women’s zebra design bikini bottoms.
Tom, who is currently living in a camper van at Black Knights Parachute Centre in Cockerham, explains: “I have got myself a job as an analyst programmer which I will be starting in September so I am just having a bit of fun before that.
“I first got into parachute jumping when I did a tandem parachute jump for my 21st birthday.
“I loved it and became hooked, so I got trained up and started jumping regularly at Black Knights and then I formed a club for students.
“Catherine Leather, one of the regulars at Black Knights joked about some of us doing a bikini skydive and somehow it became real.
“We decided to do it to raise money for the North West Air Ambulance as they are such a great charity and no one ever knows when they might need them.
“If anyone has a serious accident while they are parachuting, it would be the air ambulance that would come out to treat them at the scene and get them to hospital as quickly as possible.
“I have been fortunate enough to have never been involved in a parachute accident or to have witnessed one but I know they can happen and when they do, time is of the essence.
“So when we decided to go ahead with the Bikini Skydive, I knew I should take part to help raise money for such a deserving cause.
“I decided to just wear the bottom half of a bikini as I didn’t want anything to mess with my parachute toggles!
“But some of the other men who took part wore both bikini bottoms and tops while some wore mankinis.”
The fund-raising venture in two piece swimming costumes raised more than £2,000 for the North West Air Ambulance Service.
Paul Yeoman, owner of Black Knights Parachute Centre, says: “We are all huge supporters of the North West Air Ambulance Charity and love to get involved in any way we can.
“An idea that started off as a dare turned into the bravest sky dive the centre has ever seen to raise the vital funds needed to keep the lifesaving service going.”
Linda de Sa, challenge events officer at the North West Air Ambulance charity, says: “We absolutely love new and exciting ideas for fundraising and the Black Knights Parachute Centre certainly haven’t disappointed us with this unique challenge.
“We were overjoyed when they chose us as their charity of the year and cannot thank them enough for their continued support.”
The North West Air Ambulance charity’s helicopters fly 365 days a year, with the doctors and paramedics on board providing rapid treatment and hospital transfers to patients across the entire North West region each year.
Just as many critically injured patients would not survive without the service that the charity provides, the North West Air Ambulance would not be here without the support of its community of fundraisers and partners.
The charity is completely reliant on public and corporate donations to keep both of the North West’s Air Ambulance charity helicopters operational and helping to save lives.
For those who prefer to complete their skydives fully clothed, Black Knights will be holding a Take to the Skies challenge on October 11 to raise further funds for the North West Air Ambulance charity.
If you would like to take part, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and how to sign up.
For more information about the North West Air Ambulance charity or to make a donation, visit www.nwaa.net or contact the office on 0800 587 4570.
North West Air Ambulance
NORTH West Air Ambulance’s helicopters are medically modified to provide the doctors and paramedics with the lifesaving equipment needed to serve the eight million people of the North West and its visitors, 365 days a year.
Flying at speeds of up to 150mph, the aircrafts can give the gift of time, saving the vital minutes needed to make a difference to a precious life.
With a highly manoeuvrable, aero-dynamic fuselage, the compact design of the helicopters enables them to provide vital care and assistance to people who may have previously been considered inaccessible by road or by foot.
Each of the helicopters are kitted out with the most advanced lifesaving equipment, giving the patient the very best chance of survival.
The medical equipment on-board includes: a ventilation unit, a suction unit, a vacuum mattress and a patient monitor and defibrillator.