From my early meetings with Variety representatives as part of Stonegate’s Charity committee for ‘Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour’ I was blown away by the work that the Charity does to help so many poorly, disabled & disadvantaged children across the UK. I felt passionate about the work Variety does and made it my mission to share this passion with 12,000 Stonegate employees to ensure that they got behind the fundraising challenge and knew that I needed to set myself a personal challenge.

I decided that I would skydive! I was a little bit apprehensive at the thought of falling through the sky but went ahead and booked expecting minimal nerves. I set myself a £500 target and started fundraising and with support from family, friends and colleagues and before I knew it I had reached my original target. Determined to do as much as I could to help this fabulous cause I carried on fundraising and on the day of the jump I had raised over £1300 – the adrenaline of raising such a massive amount of money masked my nerves – until I arrived at the air field – suddenly the nerves hit and panic set in.

My skydive as part of ‘Britain’s Biggest Charity Skydive’ – the airfield was packed with eager fundraisers all raising money for fantastic causes. I waited over 3 hours for my jump slot and during this time I became a nervous wreck – I was hoping the weather would suddenly change making it unsafe to jump, I questioned whether I could go through with it, I entered my training feeling sick and was shaking so much it was a struggle for my instructor to get me in my kit. I was led across the airfield, waved to my friends and family that had come to support me and wanted to cry. Then I made myself stop and remember some of the children I had had the privilege of meeting during Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour – the smiles on their faces despite the daily struggles they faced, thought about the appeal lists I had read and the heart wrenching situations families found themselves in and realised I wasn’t jumping for fun, I was jumping to help these children – these thoughts alone pushed me in to the plane that day.

The jump itself was over in minutes – although it felt like an hour. The free fall feeling is pretty surreal and not something you can explain – a calm silence as you plough thousands of metres through the sky – however, I was relieved when I passed through the clouds and could see the airfield again!

Skydiving definitely isn’t a hobby I will be taking up anytime soon however, I am so glad that I done it and proud to have raised £1,356.27. This achievement helped in continuing to motivate and support my Stonegate colleagues throughout Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour which raised in excess of £320,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity.

It is an honour to know I have been part of such an amazing project that really will make a massive difference to the lives of so many children.

Vanessa Newins
Learning & Development Co-ordinator, Stonegate Pub Company