Anniversary of brother’s death inspires charity skydive despite fears (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Anniversary of brother’s death inspires charity skydive despite fears
5:00pm Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
Devizes woman Tara Waters decided to confront her fear of heights by doing a parachute jump from 39,000 feet.
Miss Waters, 43, signed up for the skydive in memory of her younger brother, Peter O’Connor.
Mr O’Connor, of Warring-ton, died in July 1991, aged 20. He was serving with the Army in Germany at the time and was hit by a car while he was out walking. He had served in the first Gulf War.
Miss Waters, of Market Place, has been raising money in her brother’s memory for Help for Heroes by running a half marathon every year but decided to do something else as this year is the 21st year since he died.
She said: “I like to challenge myself and I was looking for something to do this year to remember Peter by. I saw a poster for the sky dive so I decided to do it. I am terrified of heights and it was the most challenging thing I thought I could do.
“Peter would have been laughing his head off at me for doing something as crazy as this. He would have found it hilarious.”
The tandem skydive took place on September 11 at Netheravon Airfield.
Miss Waters, a credit controller at Wincanton in Chippenham, said: “I thought the skydive was going to be from 20,000 feet but when I got to the canteen I was told it was 39,000 feet. I nearly walked out but I said ‘ come on, I’m doing it for Peter’.
“The guys there were so good at putting everyone at ease. When we jumped out of the plane I shouted ‘ I love you Peter’. Freefalling was the best experience ever, I’d recommend anyone do it.
“Peter was a lively character, a joker. At his funeral the streets of Warrington were packed with people.”
Miss Waters, who has a 14-year-old daughter called Sadie, raised £400 for the forces charity SSAFA doing the parachute jump.
She loved it so much that she has arranged to do two skydives next year.
She said: “I have found the adrenaline junkie in me. It has unleashed this crazy person in me!”
She will be running the Devizes Half Marathon on October 21 for Help for Heroes.
She also runs the Bath Half Marathon to raise money for the Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in memory of her daughter, Laura, who died at three weeks old. Laura would have been 16 in November.
Miss Waters has been running two half marathons a year since 2007 and has raised about £6,000 for Help for Heroes and FSID.
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