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Charity skydive tops post-Covid bucket list

When Sarah Singleton recovered from Covid-19, she wrote a bucket list to change her life.

From News & press - 26 July 2021 12:00 AM

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At the top of that list for the Worthing-based power network supervisor was a 15,000ft skydive which has raised more than £1,000 for Chestnut Tree House children's hospice in Arundel.

Sarah, a field staff supervisor at UK Power Networks who helps to keep power flowing across Sussex, said: “We have all been affected in some way by Covid-19, but for many of us our lives can go back to normal and for some of these young people and their families life will never go back to normal.”

Sarah originally arranged the trip for her son Samuel as a present, before the pandemic. Covid-19 put the trip on hold and when Sarah recovered from Covid, she decided to join him. 

Sarah said: “My life has changed in a big way since I caught Covid last August. I was gobsmacked by how much it affected me, while my partner and children were fine. I realised life is short so I’m going to lead a healthier life and challenge myself, so I devised my bucket list.”

After a nerve-racking ascent to nearly three miles high, the plane doors opened and mum and son faced a minute of freefall before the parachutes opened and they floated back to earth.

Sarah, who is 47, said: “The journey up felt like an age, all of the novice skydivers busy in our own thoughts, which was the scariest moment. Suddenly the door was opened and the temperature dropped. My son edged towards the door and in a second was gone, then it was my turn. My feet dangled over the edge and I could see the ground 15,000 feet below. 

“Then I was out of the plane, with my instructor, freefalling at 125mph towards the ground. The sensations are intense, it’s truly incredible and all the scary feelings went, it was pure exhilaration. In no time at all the parachute opened and we glided safely down towards a beautiful map of fields and towns. People talk about how skydiving feels like a freedom, the likes of which they have never experienced, and this was so true. It is by far the best adventure I have ever experienced and needless to say I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Never an unhealthy eater or drinker before Covid, Sarah decided to give up alcohol entirely, introduce daily running and yoga sessions and work out with a personal trainer once a week.

She said: “My friends at UK Power Networks have been so generous with sponsorship and people have donated whatever they can, up to phenomenal amounts. They’ve been brilliant and I’ve had lovely comments from colleagues, some of whom I don’t even know.” 

UK Power Networks offers up to £100 match funding to support employees with fundraising events.

She added: “During Covid charities have really struggled and I particularly wanted to support a local charity because I think they have struggled the most. I have a soft spot for this charity because children are so innocent and some who are cared for by Chestnut Tree House do not have a long life. This charity gives families who know they don’t have long together the chance to live life to the full and say goodbye in the way that is right for them. They offer activity days, short breaks, end-of-life care, and ongoing bereavement support for the whole family.”

Explaining what the support means to the charity, corporate fundraising manager Alison Taylor said: “We are so grateful to Sarah and Samuel for choosing to fundraise for Chestnut Tree House. The last 18 months have been difficult for us all, but families with children with life-shortening or life-threatening conditions have had their own challenges to face. We can only be there for the families who need us thanks to your ongoing generosity and support. The money Sarah and Samuel have raised from this skydive challenge is enough to give a child an overnight stay at Chestnut Tree House, where they can spend their day exploring the woodland walk or getting messy with arts and crafts whilst having their medical needs taken care of by our specialist team. From everyone at Chestnut Tree House, thank you.”

To support Sarah’s skydive visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-singleton15

Next up on Sarah’s bucket list, once travel restrictions permit, is a longed-for reunion with her sister, a police officer on a Caribbean island and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.