When Sharon Jones was gifted a skydive for Christmas she decided to turn the ‘negative into a positive’ by raising money for Wales Air Ambulance.

Sharon, 53, from Abenbury, Wrexham, completed the skydive in Lancaster last month and has raised an incredible £2,290 for the lifesaving charity.

Doing a skydive is something Sharon may have mentioned she’d like to do in her thirties, but she never expected to do one at her age – until she received the present off her husband Huw.

She said: “Huw kept asking what I would like for Christmas but I didn’t have any idea what to ask for, so I think he got a little fed up of asking and decided to surprise me instead with a skydive.  It sure was a surprise on Christmas morning!

“I decided to turn my present into a charity event - a negative into a positive!  Deciding on a charity is a hard task as there are lots of charities out there. But as my husband is a farmer and accidents can happen easily in the countryside and with some people needing medical help straight away it was decided the charity would be the Wales Air Ambulance.”

In December 2020, the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. Wales now has access to the service’s Emergency Department-standard critical care around the clock and to keep the helicopters in the air, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year.

The grandmother-of-one, who helps on the family farm, as well as working part-time in a law firm and looking after her grandson Tomos took to the skies on a beautiful day.

Sharon added: “The weather was prefect.  Strangely enough I didn’t feel nervous but as the amount of donations kept going up I knew I couldn’t pull out.  My instructor was brilliant.  When I sat in the plane taking in the view I suddenly realised that I would be first out, but it happened so quick that I didn’t have time to say hang on a minute! 

“I jumped from 15,000 feet with a free fall of 60 seconds.  I managed to keep me eyes open as i went out and when I looked down the view was breath-taking. The parachute opened and we gently drifted down to earth. When we landed I couldn’t believe what I had just done.  I did say at the time that I wouldn’t do another skydive but after watching the video several times I’ve changed my mind.”

Sharon’s son, Geraint, daughter Zara and daughter-in-law Gwenno all knew about the surprise Christmas gift that Huw had arranged.

Sharon is now grateful that Huw surprised her with the skydive, she added: “Thank you, Huw for buying this present which pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me realise what I can achieve and something to be really proud of.

“When I started the fundraising page I thought I wouldn’t reach £500, so reaching £2,290 with the help of my husband, and his persuasive skills to ask people for donations, is really amazing and I would like to thank everyone who sponsored me.  I know this money will be a great help to the Wales Air Ambulance who do a fantastic job all year round 24/7.”

Debra Sima, the Charity’s Community Fundraiser, said: “Congratulations to Sharon who was given the surprise skydive as a gift and decided she would raise funds for charity. A huge thank you for raising an incredible £2,290 for the charity. You should be proud to have completed a skydive, whilst raising much-needed funds.

“You’ve shown that despite doing something outside your comfort zone, you enjoyed it and might do another one in the future. Also, thanks to Huw and everyone who has supported Sharon in her fundraiser. Every penny you’ve raised will help people who need us across Wales.”

There is still time to show your support to Sharon by donating to her Just Giving page - Sharon's Skydive www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sharon-jones90

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.

Picture credit: Black Nights Parachute Centre