THRILLSEEKER Melissa Wilkinson has raised more than £1,000 for charity – by throwing herself out of an aeroplane from 14,000ft.
The Linton A-level student generated the funds for the Rainbow Trust, which supports families with children who have a terminal or life-threatening illness, by doing the skydive at Langar Airfield, in Nottinghamshire.
“It was amazing,” said Pingle School student Melissa, who completed the feat strapped to Dave Merris, an experienced parachutist who has completed 17,000 jumps.
“I like doing adventurous, outdoor things like that.”
The student, who is studying art, geography and human biology, had previously demonstrated her daredevil streak by paragliding during holidays in Cyprus and Tunisia.
But the skydive represented a far greater challenge, at least in terms of altitude and a temperature of minus 28C.
“I did not realise until I was falling that I could not feel my fingers,” she said.
Although adrenaline sustained Melissa during her dive, by the time she hit the ground after several minutes of flight she felt ‘freezing’.
Despite the chill, the student was so thrilled by her endeavour she would have done it all again – immediately.
Melissa’s feat raised £1,100 for the Rainbow Trust thanks to sponsorships from family and friends and a cake sale held with friend Jemma Ison.
Match funding was also provided by the Theo Paphitis Charitable Trust, which supports the charitable exploits of staff working for its founder’s businesses.
Melissa works as a sales assistant in the Burton branch of one of these firms, Ryman’s, the stationers, at weekends.
The fund-raiser said her relatives and friends, including her mother, Susan Wilson, 47, were all ‘really proud’ of her exploits.
But Melissa, who plans to follow her A-levels by spending a year working for Camp America before training as a nurse, is keen to repeat her skydive.
“I’m thinking of doing it again,” she said, explaining she would jump when time allowed.