Written for the MS Society. July 2019.
In the first of our new ‘heroes’ series, we met Hazel Grove resident Brian Beswick ahead of his parachute jump to raise funds for the MS society.
Recruited for national service aged 21, Brian served in Chatham and Aldershot before joining British Aerospace in Woodford, ironically, as an aircraft engineer.
Now at aged 80, he attributes his continuing good health, in part, to his love of tai chi. He teaches the ancient martial art at the Methodist Church hall in Hazel Grove. Indeed some of his students live with MS and so the charity holds a personal connection with him. We met him at the church hall.
‘We set up the group nearly 14 years ago mainly because at the time I was suffering with arthritis. The doctors paid for my instructors training on the basis that we would set up a local group. Attendance has gone from a dozen back then to between 50 and 60 today.
So why a parachute jump?
I didn’t fancy doing a marathon so instead of three hours on the street, we decided to do three minutes falling to it! We go up to 15,000 feet and after jumping you do 5,000 feet freefall and then he pulls the shoot-hopefully! It’s a tandem jump.
And how much have you raised?
So far we have raised over £2000. This class have all been involved and have contributed individually. My granddaughters are at Bramall High and have made cakes, raising £60. Another is at guides and has raised £40. A lot of my ex-colleagues from Stockport College have also donated. Overall something like 200 people have contributed and it’s still open for contributions.
Who is helping you with the jump?
A group called the Black Knights at Lancaster are helping with the jump. We went up there last Saturday, but the weather was so bad that the planes wouldn’t take off because they’re only small. Also if you are in a parachute in the wind, you could finish up in the Irish Sea!
Are you nervous ahead of your jump?
I’m alright. I’ve flown small planes many times with British Aerospace but I’ve never jumped out of one. So when they open the door and I’m stood on the edge, I might be a bit nervous then!