When Thame's Red Kite Children's Centre was faced with closure because of local government funding cuts, Rotary President Erroll Bateman enlisted the help of the Red Devils

Its not every day that an 81 year-old Rotary Club President jumps out of an aeroplane at 12,5000 feet, but that's exactly what Thame Rotary Club's President, Erroll Bateman did on Tuesday 5 July over Old Sarum, home of the Parachute Regiment's famous Red Devils.

Erroll is no stranger to the 'derring-do' style of fundraising. In 2006, along with other Thame Rotarians, he completed a Three Peaks Challenge in less than 24 hours, raising over £7,000 for Sight Savers International. So if a 71 year-old can race up 3 of Britain's highest mountains at not inconsiderable speed, a tandem parachute jump with the Red Devils was clearly the obvious choice to celebrate his next decade! And start his Presidential Year with a flourish. The jump involved a 45 second free fall, which is enough to send anyone's pulse racing, but all in a good cause of raising funds and awareness for a much valued local facility.

Erroll commented: “Rotary Club of Thame’s major charity this year is Red Kite Children’s Centre, which is threatened with closure, making life even more difficult for their 1,500 clients all of whom come from Thame and surrounding district.”

Red Kite provides parenting programmes, “stay and play” sessions, family health services, plus much needed help for young mothers and many other like services. Erroll described their work as absolutely essential to the wider community in and around Thame, as well as Chinnor and neighbouring villages.

Erroll added: “The last free fall jump I did was in 1969, so before exiting the aircraft with my instructor LCpl Lee Crudgington, nerves were at high level! However, previous training clicked in, massively helped by Corporal Lee, which made the whole experience very exciting.”

Erroll said: “If you feel strongly, as I do, about this worthy, local cause, please do visit the Thame Rotary “My Donate” page dedicated to my sky dive and make a contribution. The site will be open until 1 September 2016 long after the jump!”

To make a donation please go to:

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/thamerotary4redkite2016