Gymnastics coach scared of heights to brave a skydive

Lauren Chapman (right) with Horsham Community Responder Ali Harmer SUS-150317-154958001
Lauren Chapman (right) with Horsham Community Responder Ali Harmer SUS-150317-154958001

A local Gymnastics coach who in her own words says that she is ‘utterly terrified of heights’ plans to do a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet to help raise awareness and funds for a local charity.

Lauren Chapman, who studied at Collyer’s, is one of the coaches at the Horsham Gymnastic Centre and has recently helped coach the Sports Acrobatics (Acro) squad to success in Sittingbourne, with team members returning with 13 Gold’s, 7 Silver’s and 2 Bronze’s, meaning they have 15 squad members going to the Nationals in May, has decided to do a tandem skydive for Horsham Community Responders. Lauren says “the kids I teach are all very excited for me.”

Lauren said that while working with Head Coach of the Acrobatics Squad, Ali Harmer, she found out that in her spare time Ali was an active Community First Responder (CFR) who are volunteers that respond to 999 calls on behalf of the Ambulance Service.

“I chose Horsham Community Responders because I think it’s really important to raise awareness of small, local level charities. The work the responders do is important in our community and helps save lives giving people time with loved ones that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Ali responds to 999 calls in Mannings Heath and Horsham, often arriving before the Ambulance because she lives and volunteers within her local community. She, along with the other team members, respond to calls ranging from injured falls through to Cardiac Arrests. It takes around 18 months to recruit and train each CFR and costs the scheme, which is a registered charity, nearly £2000 per volunteer to train and equip them with a kit which includes a defibrillator.

On being asked why if she was terrified of heights she was not only doing a skydive that she was doing if from so high? Lauren replied: “I chose to do it from 15,000 feet because I felt like I would only ever do this once and so I should do it from the highest scariest point. It involves a 60 second freefall and then about 5 minutes on the way down with the parachute. I think the worst part will be the jump out of the plane as it goes against everything your body wants to do. However It will be worth it raise some money for such a valuable part of the community.”

If you wish to support Lauren to help raise the £2000 it costs to train and equip a Horsham Community First Responder please make a donation by going to her Charity Checkout Page.

Report and picture contributed by Marc Harrold, Horsham Community Responders.