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Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) chiefs have thanked a Campbeltown man who jumped at the chance to fundraise for the charity during a turbulent period.
Jason McCallum signed up to do a sponsored skydive last year after a conversation with someone canvassing on behalf of the live-saving charity at Campbeltown’s Co-op supermarket.
Now, after a number of postponements – the initial jump was meant to take place in December last year – Jason, aged 43, has completed the challenge on behalf of community interest company Keeping It Local where he is business development manager.
‘With all that has been going on with the Covid-19 pandemic and increased use of the air ambulance service, it absolutely felt like the thing to do,’ said Jason.
Accompanied by his wife Lorraine, Jason travelled to Strathallan Airfield, near Auchterarder, where he carried out the 10,000 foot tandem jump with Skydive Strathallan.
‘We went in for about an hour’s training which was straight forward, then it was the waiting game for the clouds to clear.
‘I felt excited as we made our way to 10,000 feet. There was no door so you could see for miles and the view was fantastic.
‘Then it was time to jump! It felt like a relief freefalling – there was so much to take in.’
Jason, who raised an impressive £635, described the volunteer team at Skydive Strathallan as ‘fantastic’.
He added: ‘As with everywhere else, Covid-19 restricted them, due to close contact and they were just getting back to it after refreshing their training.
‘For me, it was certainly worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
Nick Harvey, SCAA’s director of fundraising and communications, said that Jason’s generous fundraising effort was the type of support that had bolstered the charity throughout the worst of the pandemic.
‘SCAA’s service has been sustained throughout, thanks to the support of generous fundraisers such as this,’ he said. ‘We are hugely grateful to Jason for taking up a personal challenge in our name and raising such a marvellous amount.
‘Jason was inspired to do his daredevil skydive after speaking with our lottery canvassers who work tirelessly in communities throughout Scotland to spread word of our service and garner support through our life-saving lottery subscriptions.
‘SCAA couldn’t survive without our lottery supporters and fundraisers such as Jason who selflessly go the extra mile for others.
‘While SCAA has been unable to pursue its normal public fundraising activities, individuals and groups have taken up the challenge and ensured we stayed in the air.’
This wasn’t Jason’s first skydive; he completed a 2,300 foot jump on behalf of a cancer charity in his late teens.
‘I would encourage anyone to give something daring a go,’ he said, ‘but Skydive Strathallan will take a bit of beating!’