Reporter Tracy Hubbard has completed her first solo parachute jump.
Tracy, from the Saffron Walden Reporter, took part in the 3,500ft jump along with five squaddies, to help raise money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
To prepare for the jump she went through eight hours of gruelling training, and had to take a 21-question multiple choice test.
Tracy said: “The day of the jump was sunny with high cloud cover – it was perfect, but my nerves were not.
“Before I knew it I was kneeling in front of the see-through door. I could see for miles. Then the pilot banked the plane and I could feel myself leaning forwards and could see directly below me.
“The shakiness of the narrow Cessna Caravan plane – and my hands – were not nice feelings. All of a sudden, my stomach went.
“Next minute I was near the door exit being told to get further out. “Go” was shouted and I was out and, remembering my drill, I counted: ‘One thousand’, ‘two thousand’, ‘three thousand’, ‘four thousand’, ‘check’, ‘canopy’.
“My heart was pumping so fast but as the parachute opened fully I had the reassuring feeling that everything was going to be all right.
“It took about five minutes from the plane exit to touch down. During the descent it was amazingly quiet and relaxing.
“My nerves before the jump were terrible. But it was certainly worth it. It was exhilarating – so much so that three squaddies, Ginge, Luke and Robbo walked to the plane for a second jump – but one jump in a day was enough for me.
“I had also watched the Red Devils in formation. It looked wonderful and so controlled, but after my first taste, I’ve decided I will definitely be sticking to the day job.”
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