Triple amputee Corporal Andy Reid was amongst 60 big-hearted adrenaline seekers who conducted a parachute jump over Wiltshire on Friday to raise money for soldiers, former soldiers and their families in need.
Corporal Reid, from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, suffered severe injuries from an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan last autumn. As a result of the explosion he lost both legs and his right arm. He is receiving ongoing treatment for his left arm which was also damaged and is now fitted with a metal plate. He said:
I just want to prove to people and other soldiers that just because you’re injured it doesn’t stop you having a normal life doing things. Whatever you want to do you can still carry on and do it.
The Soldiers’ Charity, who Corporal Reid and his fellow parachute jumpers are raising money for, helped adapt his home for wheelchair use.
The jump was organised by The Soldiers’ Charity, in partnership with ‘The Tigers’, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment’s renowned parachute display team. It took place at Netheravon, the Centre of Excellence run by the British Army Parachute Association, in Wiltshire on Friday 30 July 2010.
The charity was inundated with people keen to take part in the first of what organisers hope to make a twice-yearly event. The huge number jumping on the day - which included 41 serving soldiers - were aiming to raise at least £12,000 which will go directly to soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need.
Those taking part jumped from up to 13,000 feet (4,000m), with approximately 45 seconds of freefall. At 5,000 feet (1,500m), the instructor opened the parachute, giving a five-minute canopy ride over the Wiltshire countryside.
Corporal Reid jumped with a specially qualified tandem instructor. He said:
When you jump, you can’t see the ground. It’s just a massive adrenaline rush as you pop through the clouds and you see the earth rushing towards you.
It was awesome. I always knew I could get back and do this sort of thing but I never thought it would be this soon.
I wouldn’t call myself a hero. There are people in worse condition than myself. But I hope I do inspire other people to get on with their lives.
It’s been a bit of a challenge. Getting up there into the plane and learning what to do. It has been a challenge, every day’s a challenge really, but you just take them on board and get over them.