Chippenham accountants counting days to skydive

This Is Wiltshire: From back left are Sophie Fitzpatrick, Eliza-Jane Stalker and Natasha Hawkins, and from front left are Andy Davis, Mike Parfitt and Joe Saunders. Chris Ralph, the seventh member of the team, is not pictured                           (PM1392) By Paul Morri From back left are Sophie Fitzpatrick, Eliza-Jane Stalker and Natasha Hawkins, and from front left are Andy Davis, Mike Parfitt and Joe Saunders. Chris Ralph, the seventh member of the team, is not pictured (PM1392) By Paul Morri

Accountants are not usually known for their thrill seeking, but staff at one Chippenham firm cannot wait to dive out of a plane.

A team of seven from Mander Duffill Accountants will be making the 10,000 ft jump on August 17 for its charity of the year, Back on Track – Stroke Rehab Service, a Wiltshire charity set up to help rehabilitate stroke survivors and support their carers.

The accountants will get a 30-minute briefing on the day at Redlands Airfield near Swindon, before freefalling for about 30 seconds from about two miles high.

Joe Saunders, 28, of Baydons Lane, Chippenham, has seen through his grandparents and a friend how a stroke can affect the lives of survivors and those around them.

He said: “It will be the scariest thing I’ve ever done, I’m not great with heights. The bit I’m most nervous about is not really if the parachute opens but the bit before, having to jump out.

“I know how much of an impact a stroke can have, so you’ve just got to try to put your fears aside.

“Since my friend had a stroke in 2003, there have been many side effects that continue to affect him to this day. He can’t do certain things now that we can easily take for granted, things like using the telephone.”

For his colleague Natasha Hawkins, 23, who has persuaded the others to join her, it is not her first taste of danger. She has been champing at the bit to get back in the air after doing a wingwalk for the NSPCC last year.

She said: “I’m counting down the days. I’m not sure about the others, I’m surprised I managed to convince them! It’s not every day you get seven accountants doing something as crazy as this.

“Our company helped Back on Track get started. It is only a local charity and relies heavily on donations. Its main objective is too assist working-age stroke sufferers to get their lives back on track.”

Mander Duffill have raised nearly £1,200 so far. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/Mad Divers

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