Daredevil vicar's parachute mystery
By David GreenA DAREDEVIL clergyman has been left puzzled over how his parachute mysteriously disappeared following a record flight.The parachute had just been removed by the Rev Simon Ladd, a Baptist minister, after completing his longest paragliding trip from Newmarket Heath to his home in Horham on Friday.
By David Green
A DAREDEVIL clergyman has been left puzzled over how his parachute mysteriously disappeared following a record flight.
The parachute had just been removed by the Rev Simon Ladd, a Baptist minister, after completing his longest paragliding trip from Newmarket Heath to his home in Horham on Friday.
"I landed in a field next to my house, unstrapped the parachute and went inside to put the kettle on for a cup of tea. When I came out again 10 minutes later, it had disappeared," he said.
But the clergyman received a call from police on Saturday to say the parachute had turned up in Dickleburgh, about 12 miles away in Norfolk.
Mr Ladd, 42, who is married with three children, said it was his normal practice to leave the parachute in the field while he carried the motor, which was fairly heavy, to an outhouse.
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"It may have blown away, although I had never had any trouble with it moving in the past, or it may have been picked up by someone. I am completely baffled," he said.
Mr Ladd spent much of the rest of the day searching for the parachute and was taken up in an aircraft on Saturday by a pilot to search the fields from above, all to no avail.
Then came the police call and, the following day, a conversation with a farmer in Dickleburgh who had found the parachute while driving along a road in the Worlingworth area.
Paragliding involves people strapping themselves into a parachute and the harness of a motor, taking a run up and soaring into the sky.
Mr Ladd has been an enthusiast of the sport for four years. He was trained at Cambridge and regularly flies off from his home on short trips in to the heavens.
But on Friday he had decided to attempt his longest flight to date and his wife had driven him to Newmarket Heath. After taking off and flying at between 2,000 and 3,000 feet, he arrived back home 75 minutes later, having the advantage of a tail wind.
Mr Ladd said the paragliding kit cost £2,000 and the parachute was worth about £800.