‘I’m terrified of heights’: jockeys to jump from plane

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  • A dozen point-to-point jockeys are doing a 15,000 feet parachute jump on 12 June in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF).

    The jump is at Dunkeswell Aerodrome near Exeter, the day after the last meeting of the season at Umberleigh.

    None of the jockeys, apart from John Mathias, has jumped out of a plane before.

    Those jumping for the first time are: Zac Baker, Pete Mann, Johnny Bailey, Leo Mahon, Joe Hill, Fergus Gregory, Jack Andrews, Tom David, James King, Patrick Gerety and Sam Davies-Thomas.

    I am terrified of heights,” said Mr Davies-Thomas, who first suggested the idea to the group last week. “But it’s for such a good cause, you’ve got to do it.”

    Since it was founded in 1964 the IJF, which is Horse & Hound’s charity of the year, has spent over £18m helping more 1,000 injured riders.

    It has two rehabilitation centres in Lambourn and Malton and is planning to open another in Newmarket.

    “We are all doing this for the IJF which is a fantastic charity for all jockeys and as point-to-point riders we are very lucky to have their support,” said Mr Davies-Thomas.

    The jockeys are jumping together at 2pm on the Sunday, the day after after an end-of-season party in a pub in Devon.

    Immediately after the jump, they will experience a minute of freefall, travelling at 120-140 miles per hour.

    The canopy ride takes 5-10 minutes before they land “hopefully all safely” on the ground.

    The jockeys are covering the £279 cost of the jump themselves so the proceeds all go to the IJF.

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    Fundraising got off to a good start last weekend with the jockeys raising £1,500 in collection buckets (pictured, above) at the Kingston Blount meeting on Sunday and Chaddesley Corbett on Monday.

    The jockeys will be getting their buckets out between races this Saturday (4 June) at meetings at Garthorpe in Leicestershire and Trecoed in Wales.

    To donate to the fund, visit the group’s JustGiving page.

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