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Mayor overcomes vertigo for charity skydive
MAYOR of Chesham Mark Shaw overcame his fear of heights to raise more than £5,000 for charity by hurling himself out of a plane.
He swapped his mayoral chains of office for a parachute as he took part in a 15,000ft skydive to raise money for the Chesham Dementia Cafe.
Cllr Shaw had been due to take the plunge on May 1 but he was given extra time for the nerves to kick in as it had to be pushed back to Bank Holiday Monday due to bad weather.
He said: "The nerves were doing their work but I did it. I'm really proud of myself because I'm totally scared of heights.
"When you're falling your mind is saying, 'You are falling through air, are you mad?' Then the parachute opens and it's OK and you think, 'I can do this'."
He was joined on the skydive by daughter Beth and two of her friends, Natalie Else and Ernesta Petkeviciute.
Cllr Shaw said: "She was far keener than her dad to do it. Her reason for doing it was to make sure I went out the plane and didn't hide at the back - I was the first to jump."
And he's not ruled out the possibility of getting back into the plane and donning the parachute one more time.
He said: "Now I've done it once and broken one or two phobias I'd like to do it again - not tomorrow or next week, but now I know what the process is about I think I'd actually enjoy it."
So far the jump has banked £5,200 for the Dementia Cafe, which meets on the last Thursday of each month at Chesham Town Hall and provides activities for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's and their carers.
It's Cllr Shaw's mayoral charity for the year and he's hoping to raise as much as £6,000 from the skydive.
He said: "I'm really pleased with how generous people have been."
Sponsorship forms can be picked up from the Town Hall or downloaded from the Chesham Town Council website, www.chesham.gov.uk, and any cheques should be made payable to Chesham Mayor.
Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07951744656 for more information on how to sponsor Cllr Shaw.
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