So the tandem skydiving world record attempt at Dunkeswell happened on June 21, when the great British weather held its own with blue skies and just the right sort of fluffy cloud.
Having been commissioned to write a feature about skydiving and the event for Devon Life, it was on the cards that I would be jumping myself. In the end that didn’t happen but I did get the chance of a truly exciting flight up to 15,000 feet with one group of jumpers. Sitting next to the pilot, Aussie Tom as we cruised around above the clouds, I turned to watch the intrepid folk leap from the plane into the blue. A little part of me breathed a sigh of relief that I could stay sitting next to Tom while they plummeted out of view! On landing I hung around to watch them all travel back to the ground safely. In total, 281 jumped, beating the record by 30.
Many were raising money for charity. I interviewed some of these, and there were some amazing stories. I spoke to the mum of a young man who was killed in a road accident at the age of 24. Five brave people were jumping to raise funds for the charity she’d set up, called PAULY. Having a son myself, I had tears in my eyes. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child who has his whole life before him. (For more info on the charity click here)
Very different was another feature that Devon Life asked me to cover. Terrier racing takes place in the East Devon village of Yarcombe every year, in August. I don’t live that far from Yarcombe yet I’d never heard of it. I drove over and had a chat with a lovely farming couple, John and Barbara Salter. John was involved right at the conception of the race day in the 1970s, and forty years on is the only surviving member of the original team.
This is a great community event (I love community events!) attracting thousands of visitors from other villages and holidaymakers who come along every year. There are six races with a mixture of dogs, a 10p tote, and lots of fun to be had. This year race day is on Saturday August 2. I’m hoping to go along with the family, and on the way I am dead set on stopping for an ice-cream from the Otter Valley Dairy who make such delicious-sounding concoctions as Ginger and Butternut Squash and Devon Rice Pudding with Raspberry Jam. All made from milk and cream from their own Pedigree herd. Yum!