December 12 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
A father whose son died after being born prematurely is planning to attempt a world record-breaking parachute jump in his memory.
Conrad Swinfield-Wells from Helions Bumpstead in Suffolk hopes to leap out of a plane strapped to another jumper from 30,000 feet this September - an altitude higher than the summit of Mount Everest and above what many commercial airliners fly.
If achieved, the drop will go down as the highest tandem parachute jump ever completed.
Mr Swinfield-Wells, 45, is taking on the challenge to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust charity who supported him and his wife, Jo, when their son Tomas was born last November aged 23 weeks and weighing just one and half pounds. They stayed at the charity’s Acorn House in Cambridge free of charge whilst Tomas was being treated at nearby Addenbrookes Hospital.
Despite a number of serious medical complications, Tomas lived for four and half months before dying of a bowel disease in March.
And now, IT engineer Mr Swinfield-Wells, who is afraid of heights, wants to take an a fundraising mission that reflects the bravery and courage his young son showed through those difficult months.
He said: “This may seem pretty extreme in terms of a fundraising adventure - its 5.5 miles above the earth - but I wanted to do something which celebrated the short life of Tomas. He spent most of his life wearing an oxygen mask, and I’ll have to wear specialist oxygen equipment when I make the jump.
“The Sick Children’s Trust supported us when we needed it and since then we have contributed for our stay but we want to do more.”
The jump is due to take place on September 23 from airspace over Memphis, Tennessee in the US where Mr Swinfield-Wells is due to join up with a team of ex-servicemen who have been trained in high altitude parachuting. Should all go to plan he is due to freefall 24,000 feet in two minutes at an average speed of 189 miles per hour before opening his chute and floating towards the drop zone.
More details can be found at the www.justgiving.com/30kdrop website address.