Pidley Mountain Rescue World Teddy Bear Freefall Parachute Jump
time you're trying to raise a little money for charity, take a leaf
out of the book of the curiously-named Pidley Mountain Rescue Team.
Not for them the agony of marathon running or the humdrum of the
Howard-bear following his parachute jump
siree. When it comes to raising dosh for the disabled in their local
community, they come up with this one: freefall parachute jumping
for teddy bears...
so we find ourselves at Southview Farm in Pidley on a warm but cloudy
Saturday morning, waiting for these brave little teddies to throw
themselves willy-nilly from a high-flying Piper Cub plane, flown
in specially from Lasham, in Hampshire, by its pilot, Alan Meredith.
Boyd, Chairman of the Pidley Mountain Rescue (PMR) explains: "Ten
bears, donated by the Bear Factory of Peterborough, will be jumping,
one at a time, from the Piper Cub. Each bear is named after someone
who has previously benefitted from PMR's help, and in turn, each
bear has been sponsored for £200 by a commercial organisation
- so we've already raised £2,000.
signalling wind direction
taken the stuffing out of each bear - it was a painless operation
- and weighted each one with five kilos of sand. There's a World
War Two jeep in the middle of the field, and basically, whichever
bear lands closest to the jeep will be the winner."
The bear essentials
And so, at 11am sharp, the plane took its first fly-past in order
to determine wind speed and direction, and the teddies - in random
order - made their jumps:
first brave bear...
first brave young bear was Thomas Grice-Bear
- he'd travelled all the way from the USA, having been sponsored
by a Florida business. In an almost vertical drop, he landed some
way from target, in the middle of a strawberry patch - but the thrilled
crowd whooped and cheered this truly international chappy.
He was closely followed by Kyran Palmer-Bear
and Kieran Gallagher-Bear,
both of whom landed within feet of the target, much to the delight
of the visitors.
Joe Johnson-Bear was next to
go, but his technique left a little to be desired, and he landed
a good 30 feet from target.
thrower Kevin Mole with sons Stephen (L) and Jack
fifth bear to jump was William Whitticase-Bear.
There was almost unbearable tension as his chute failed to
open initially. The crowd gasped. "Don't look, don't look!"
Shouted a man to his small children. But luckily, within seconds,
the chute opened and William landed safely, far away across the
Jason Howard-Bear and William
McGregor-Bear came next, the first landing face-down
in the strawberry patch and the latter landing safely after initially
twisting his parachute lines.
It's not an exact science, and the first one could hardly bear
(in charge of throwing the bears from the plane)
Hodgkin-Bear was next to leap, and in a stunning example
of near-perfect technique he landed almost bang on target.
Finally came Tomas Price-Bear
with a good attempt, but overshooting the jeep at the very last
the gallery >>
Boyd holds the winner aloft
Robbie Hodgkin-Bear took the honours with his near-perfect jump.
He wins a luxury weekend away for his sponsors from Southend.
More about Pidley Mountain
Founded 30 years ago, you might be surprised to discover that PMR
does not actually participate in mountain rescue of any kind.
It has never even rescued anyone from a hillock, nor a small mound.
It does, however, raise money tirelessly for the disabled in the
community. Its aim is to provide equipment desperately needed by
local people, rather than provide them with money.
year's World Teddy Bear Freefall Parachute
Jump will raise the funds necessary to purchase a special
car seat for a four year-old girl who suffers from autism, and a
car seat for a seriously disabled lady from Huntingdon.
the gallery >>