Rustington primary school staff take on 15,000 feet skydive to raise funds

Two dedicated staff members have gone the extra mile to raise money for a Rustington school by jumping out of a plane from 15,000 feet.

Gemma Camble, a teacher at Summerlea Community Primary School, wanted to raise money for the school in a unique way, combined with a wish to do something completely out of her comfort zone.

Gemma said: “It started off because I wanted to do something a bit out there because I am a bit of a home comforts girl. I wanted to do something to push myself. We are always fundraising at the school and looking for different ways to raise money for the school.”

When individual needs assistant Mandy Chittenden heard what her friend was planning, she volunteered to join the skydive to make more of an impact.

Gemma, who has taught at the school for ten years, said: “We are both passionate about giving children the best possible education, having worked at Summerlea for a combined total of 24 years, but we have seen how funding cuts have put a strain on the school’s budget.

“We are fortunate to have a very tenacious senior leadership team and the support of Friends Of Summerlea School, who dedicate so much of their own time to raising funds for our school. However, there is no denying that funding cuts have had, and continue to have, an impact.”

Originally planned for a jump from 10,000 feet, the skydive went ahead on Saturday with a last minute change to the plans.

Gemma said: “We increased our jump altitude from 10,000 to 15,000 feet - 1.8miles to 2.8 miles, we literally went the extra mile for our school.

“It was such a fantastic experience and we are now skydiving converts! Our instructors were great, so professional and reassuring, thank you Go Skydive. We were supported by our fabulous families and friends, who kept us distracted when our pre-jump nerves got a bit much.”

Children at the school have been very supportive of the pair’s efforts to help the school, even hosting a fair in the school hall which added £100 to the total.

Gemma said: “Every member of staff just wants so much for the children. They are the centre of everything we do and we just want them to have the best resources to support their learning. We have noticed, like the other schools in West Sussex, that funding has gotten harder.”

Mandy and Gemma have raised more than £900 so far, and are aiming for £1,000. To donate to the duo’s efforts, visit Donations can also be sent to the school office in Windsor Drive, Rustington.