Metropolitan Grand Secretary David Swain has taken to the skies as part of a sponsored tandem skydive, in aid of Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London’s Lift for Life appeal
After the success of last year’s event, James Macdonald, of Gresham Lodge No. 7651 in London and a skydiving instructor, organised a second event. This appeal will see London Freemasons buy two super-aerial platforms for the London Fire Brigade at a cost of £2.5 million, which when online, will be the highest of any platforms in Europe.
The call went out on social media and through the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London website and a number of members quickly signed up to take part. Following in the footsteps of Metropolitan Grand Inspector Mark Stollery, who took part last year, Metropolitan Grand Secretary David Swain was keen to be involved.
With the places booked, the members went to work to raise money for this very worthy cause. The combined total so far stands at almost £13,000.
When the day came, the nervous group arrived bright and early to an airfield just north of Peterborough, where James Macdonald was waiting to give them a full safety briefing and an outline for the morning. Once complete, everyone donned their jumpsuits, collected a ridiculous looking hat and met their instructors ready to board the aircraft.
Tentatively, the group boarded the aircraft and were quickly flying up to the exit altitude of 13,000ft. The nerves were growing, but the camaraderie in the cosy light aircraft helped maintain a relatively jovial mood. Beautiful views from the plane were soon forgotten however, as the door opened, letting in a cool breeze and an element of realised fear.
One by one, the group and their instructors edged towards the door and rolled out, exiting high above the Peterborough skies, reaching speeds of 130mph on the way down. After about 45 seconds the parachutes were deployed and the noisy, overwhelming excitement of freefall became the peaceful bliss of flying under their parachutes.
After circling around for about five minutes and taking in breath-taking views, everyone landed safely on the landing area, all sporting some of the biggest smiles they’d ever experienced. As if the skydiving wasn’t enough, Scott Moffat of Veritas Lodge No. 4983, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, who had also just jumped. Thankfully, she said yes.
Those who took part included David Swain, Scott Moffat, Paul Skipper of Old Foresters Lodge No. 7726, Alasdair Brown of Hampden Lodge No. 2427, Frederico Pessoa of Bee Hive Lodge No. 2809, Chris Griggs of Cholmeley Lodge No. 1731 and Maria Jeffery on behalf of Lloyds Lodge No. 5673.
After the event, David Swain said: 'The tandem skydive in support of our Lift for Life appeal for the London Fire Brigade was very well organised and slickly executed. Blessed with perfect skydiving weather, clear skies and great visibility, it was a fantastic experience and one I would recommend to anyone. Grateful thanks to James MacDonald and all at UK Parachuting for a seamless day.'
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