When MHA Fitzwarren Court resident Bernard Berry settled in
to life at the retirement living scheme, he didn’t expect that he would end up
skydiving to raise funds for their amenity fund at the age of 83.
Bernard was one of the first residents at MHA Fitzwarren
Court in Swindon when it opened four years ago and is a part of the residents
Part of the group’s role includes raising funds for the
scheme’s amenity fund, which helps provide extras for residents to enjoy. In
recent years this has included creating a rose garden in the landscaped gardens
and buying a piece of equipment to help transfer people from their wheelchair
But funds were running low so Bernard asked friends for
ideas of how to raise money – and that’s where his skydive came in.
Bernard said: “What gave me the idea for the skydive was
that it would be a little bit different and would grab people.
“The skydive was a wonderful experience and I got a big
thrill out of doing it. It was an exhilarating experience and every moment was
enjoyable. You are in the air then floating down through the clouds after
you’ve stopped spinning around. I was concentrating on picking out all the
landmarks when we cleared the clouds.
“There was a moment when I thought ‘what have I done’ but
that soon went over.
“I would say to anyone thinking of doing it, have a go.
There is nothing I have done which has come close to it. It is well worth
So far Bernard has raised £800 towards his target of £1,500
but anticipates reaching that as donations are still coming in.
Support for his skydive also came from his family of wife
Jean, his two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who are
all very proud of his feat.
And at MHA Fitzwarren Court, fellow residents will get a
glimpse of what it was like for Bernard when they gather to view the video
taken of the event and hear from Bernard about hi experience.
Scheme manager Charlene Dean said: “We are all very proud of
Bernard taking to the skies and jumping out of a plane to help raise funds four
our residents’ amenity fund. It was an amazing thing for him to do.”
Photo credit: Teej Quigley, Skydive London