Armley skydiver pays back charity that saved her life

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Courageous Sarah Pearson from Armley overcame her fear of heights to complete a 15,000ft skydive in aid of the charity that supported her.

Her challenge, at the Skydive Academy in Peterlee, has so far raised more than £600 for Humankind. Sarah, who is in recovery from alcohol dependency, says Humankind saved her life after she was helped by Forward Leeds, one of its drug and alcohol services.

Sarah said: “The whole experience of doing a tandem skydive was both terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

“The climb up to 15,000ft was stomach-churning enough, but when the shutter door was rolled up and I watched the first few skydivers exit the plane, I was giving serious thought to cancelling, and was nearly in tears.

“But my instructor was amazing – very professional and reassuring – and once he’d prised my hands off the sides of the plane door, we were out and in freefall.

“The canopy must have opened after just a minute or so, but it felt like a lot longer.

“I pretty much screamed on and off all the way down, and afterwards my instructor Mick said it was the funniest tandem he’d ever done.”

She said emotions were running high when she was reunited with her family on the ground.

Sarah added: “I’m so grateful to Humankind and Forward Leeds for all their support, getting me into detox and early recovery, and then working with me at 5 WAYS to keep me engaged and motivated and sustain my recovery.

“My skydive is mine, and my family’s way of saying thank you, for everything.”

Sarah now works as a business support officer for West Yorkshire – Finding Independence (WY-FI) a partnership of seven non-profit organisations across West Yorkshire for which Humankind is the lead partner.

Anna Headley, Humankind executive director, said: “This is an incredible effort by Sarah and we’re all really proud of her. Sarah’s a great example of what Humankind is all about - helping people to build healthier lives that have meaning and value for themselves and their families.”

Visit bit.ly/3121ZHS to donate.