Hatters boss Nathan Jones scaled the heights in the name of charity on Wednesday afternoon by jumping from an aeroplane at 13,000 feet over Northamptonshire in tandem with Town fan Mark Warne.
The skydivers were raising funds for Level Trust – with Mark paying £750 for the privilege at the club’s Christmas dinner – as we work towards the £16,000 target set for our club charity of the year, who help the 14,000 children living below the poverty line in Luton with essential clothing and equipment to aid their education.
Speaking immediately after landing back on the grass at Hinton Skydiving Club, near Brackley, Nathan said: “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life! It’s something I never thought I’d do and it was absolutely amazing. Such an experience.
“From the time that we got to 13,000 feet, they opened the door and then there was just bodies jumping out and I was the last to go. When we got to the end, you’re literally there with a little bit of a briefing and then ‘Bang’, you’re gone.
“In that moment you just hit the air, you’re spinning and you’re dropping at some ridiculous speed. Nothing can prepare you for that, no briefing or anything.
“The worst thing about it is going up on the plane. You are used to flying and the quiet jet engines. You’re used to smooth take-offs. But this is a small, rickety old plane and you go up there and that’s probably the most daunting thing.
“But when you get up there, the instructor was amazing. We were talking as we go along, then they open the door and then there is that initial shock. Nothing prepares you for the jump, nothing. The speed is the biggest shock.
“I’m so pleased to have done it for Level Trust as well. That’s the big thing. To be able to do this for a good cause and for the club, it was amazing. I was glad I was given the opportunity to do it. My partner Mark, who has paid for the privilege, loved it as well, so it was a real good experience. One off the bucket list!”
Mark, the managing director of Luton-based firm DOTgroup International and a box holder at Kenilworth Road, added: “It was an honour and a privilege, and I thank Nathan for doing it. Neither of us had done it before and I found the whole thing fantastic. It was an amazing experience, and all for a worthy cause that makes it twice as enjoyable.”
Jane Malcolm, the founder of Level Trust, said: “Charity starts at home and I live in Luton where one in four children live below the poverty line – in my home town. I think that’s really wrong. So I want to do something about that, and at Level Trust, that’s what we do. We try and help children who are living below that line of poverty and try to make sure they have the basic things that most of us take for granted every day. Things like school uniform, good quality shoes, warm winter clothing – we make sure that children who otherwise would perhaps not be able to afford that, have those basic things.
“We are a voluntary, grass-roots organisation, started on my kitchen table – and this partnership with Luton Town Football Club has been a real pivotal step for us because it has raised our profile so much. To have someone as high-profile as Nathan Jones jumping out of an aeroplane for us really is the icing on the cake of that partnership and all that the club has done for us.”