A woman from Flintshire has jumped from a plane at 13,000ft with the Red Devils to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, which supports her brother.
Christine Nunes, who is 56 and from Connah’s Quay in Deeside has finally ticked a skydive off her bucket list following the jump on 11 May at Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire.
Christine is herself an Army veteran who joined the Woman’s Royal Army Corps in 1985 at 18 years old. Her family has strong military connections as both her brothers also served in the Army.
“My older brothers were both in the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and used to take the mickey out of me and boast about jumping from planes. I have always wanted to say, I’ve done it too, and now, after 40 years, I finally can.”
Christine’s tandem partner and trainer for the day was Corporal Mike French from the Red Devils Army Parachute Display Team who has over 8,000 parachute jumps under his belt, so Christine knew she was in safe hands.
“I saw the Red Devils doing a display last year and heard them talking about offering tandem jumps; I knew I had to do it.
“I arrived at the airfield at 11am with my husband and instantly my excitement levels were through the roof. My nerves were nowhere to be seen; pure excitement is all I experienced.”
The plane’s ascent to 13,000ft took around 15 minutes and at that point, Christine was given the cue to move to the open door.
“I hooked my legs under the plane and put my head back onto Mike’s shoulder in readiness for the drop.
“Boy, those first few seconds were completely disorientating, I had no idea which way was up, but the thrill was totally exhilarating. We descended in freefall at 140 miles per hour before Mike released the parachute.
“This was the best day of my life so far and I felt honoured and proud to have made the jump with the Red Devils and for Blind Veterans UK.”
Christine’s brother John has been supported by Blind Veterans UK since 2009 when he lost his sight due to macular degeneration.
John, who is 57 years old, joined the Parachute Regiment in 1982 and served for ten years.
“I am keen to raise money for Blind Veterans UK to thank them for all the support they have given my brother for many years now. They’ve provided him with equipment to help him remain independent including a computer to work on. They do amazing work for so many veterans.
“John is sadly quite poorly; I wanted to do this jump sooner rather than later, so he knew I was doing it for him.”
Christine had a video recorded to capture her experience on the day. Usually, these videos are set to music but Christine requested that the original sound was kept so that blind veterans could hopefully experience the day with her.
There is still time to support Christine. If you would like to donate, please visit: gofundme.com/f/skydive-with-
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit blindveterans.org.uk/support .