As air ambulance trust announces longer summer hours the sky is the limit for Experience Mad charity fundraisers

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Michelle Hughes, Customer Services Manager at adventure day company Experience Mad, will take 12,000ft plunge for charity that saved her mother's life

Tandem skydive experience at sunset

An incredible tandem skydive experience at sunset

We have huge amounts of respect for the emergency and lifesaving air services in Essex. From where I live I see them in action almost every day. Arranging a charity skydive seemed a natural way of showing our support.

Cruising at 12,000 feet through a clear blue sky, with stunning views of hazy London out of one window and the Essex coastline from the other... It would sound pretty enjoyable in most people’s books – until the engine quietens. What comes next is an experience like no other, as Michelle Hughes – 28-year old mum and now charity fundraiser – is soon to find out.

As Customer Services Manager at adventure day company Experience Mad, Michelle is more used to arranging helicopters or hot tubs for the company’s client base. But last year Michelle’s mum was injured in a riding accident, and now Michelle is raising funds for the organisation that saved her life – by throwing herself out of a plane.

“I’ve never really been one to embrace change,” said Michelle. “My New Year’s Resolution was to try some new foods! But I’ve been thinking more and more about a skydiving experience and how I’d regret it if I never did one. Then Steve, my boss, said he would sponsor me to do it for charity. I chose the Essex Air Ambulance, who rescued my mum last year after her horse tripped and rolled on her during a hack out. She broke ribs and her pelvis but she was too isolated for a regular ambulance to reach her.”

Experience Mad Director Steve Clark, who is sponsoring the jump, said: “In my line of business we offer a number of skydiving and parachuting activities, which are popular with adrenalin junkies and as gift experiences. But we have close links and huge amounts of respect for the emergency and lifesaving air services in Essex, which is a large county with a long stretch of coastline. The Essex Air Ambulance is based at the airfield in Earls Colne where I live, so I see it in action almost every day. Arranging a charity skydive seemed a natural way of showing our support.”

Michelle is doing a tandem skydive, so come 13 May she will be strapped to an instructor before taking the 12,000ft plunge. After a 7,000ft freefall, during which they will reach a speed of approximately 120mph, the instructor will deploy the parachute and the jumpers will float gently back to earth.

It costs £250,000 per month to keep the The Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) service running and that is funded by public and business donations and charity activities. Last week the EHAAT announced that they will extend the hours they operate this summer to cover the longer days.

“I’m excited and nervous, but the fact that it’s for charity makes me determined to take the plunge!” said Michelle.

To sponsor Michelle, go to http://www.justgiving.com/Michelle-Hughes84

About Experience Mad:
We constantly search out new and exciting experience days at the best locations, in the best planes, trains and automobiles money can buy and all at the best possible prices. For people who prefer to relax to the max we have spa days, hotel breaks and a variety of other unforgettable treats.

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