Skydive challenge delivers high-flying fundraising result

Mike Coventry’s leap into the unknown, taking part in a skydive from 14,000ft to help Autism Berkshire, has raised almost £1,600 for us.

Mike, the husband of our Bracknell Home Visit Support Worker Gemma Coventry, took on the challenge despite being afraid of heights.

But he enjoyed the experience so much that he would “do it again tomorrow” and added: “It was a really good day in the end. I had weeks of nerves for no reason.

“The worst part was the night before, when I was lying in bed. It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.”

The skydive took place at Chiltern Park aerodrome in Ipsden, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire.

Mike said: “We had a few friends and family there on the day. One of my cousins is a bit of a wind-up merchant, so I just totally zoned out during the day to try to ignore him – I felt calm, though Gemma said when I was doing the paperwork my hands were all shaky. 

“Even though I’m scared of heights, I feel secure when I’m flying, because you’re safe and enclosed. So the flying part was fine and the instructor was chatting to me and telling me how high we were every couple of thousand feet. Then we got to the door opening.

“It’s strange, you don’t see a lot – you shuffle towards the edge and I was trying not to look down – then as soon as you get to the edge, you push your head back and in a split second you’re out of the door.

“You can’t look down straight away, as you have to look to the horizon when you’re freefalling for about 30 seconds, then the parachute opens and that’s when you can look around and admire the view.

“By the end of the jump I just wanted to do it all again. I would love to do it again tomorrow – Gemma says ‘no’. I’m trying to get her to do it as well.”

Mike has received £1,255 in donations via his online fundraising page, with Gift Aid taking the total to £1,575.

He said: “I was aiming to raise £1,000 and thought it would be tight, so to get over that was good. I’m very pleased.”

  • If you would like to raise funds for Autism Berkshire by taking on a challenge or doing something more down-to-earth, such as running a bake sale at work, we are happy to help spread the work. Click here for more information or contact our community fundraising officer, Sarah Brown, on 01189 594 594, or email