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TAKING THE PLUNGE

When Dan Deans took part in a tandem parachute jump to raise money for Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, he decided to take the plunge in more ways than one and propose to his girlfriend when he landed safely back on solid ground.

For Dan, who lives in Wolverhampton with 23-year-old Emma Brewer, it was a huge day of firsts as he had also never been in a plane before the day of the jump as he was afraid of heights.

The Stock Assistant who works for the trading company that supports the charity decided to take part in the skydive on Saturday, September 27, at Tilstock Airfield in Shropshire after being volunteered by his supervisor, Phil Smith, who also made the leap along with 12 others – many being employees of Newlife or their relatives.

“I thought I might make it the most traumatic day possible and propose to my girlfriend too,” laughs Dan. “We have been together for 19 months and I had been planning the proposal for about four months.

“The crew all knew what I was planning and had let Emma into the landing area on the pretext that they felt sorry for her as she has pins and a rod in her back. The most nerve wracking moment of the jump was when they opened the doors – but the freefall was amazing and the scenery was fabulous. I can’t wait to do it again, but this time from 15,000 feet. It’s definitely conquered my fear of heights!”

He added: “When we landed they had to unclip me and the guy who had brought Emma out to the field gave me a sneaky handshake to pass me the engagement ring he’d been keeping safe for me during the jump.

“I gave Emma a hug and then got down on one knee to propose. She had no idea what I had been planning and was crying so much she didn’t actually say ‘yes’, but she did nod, so I shouted to the others ‘it’s a yes!’

“I felt so liberated. First I got to do the jump and now I get to marry the girl I love.”

Dan and the others who took part in the event to raise money for Newlife are on track to raise more than £5,000 – with 100 per cent of the funds being used to help disabled children.

Nora Smith, Newlife fundraising manager, said: “Dan and Emma are a lovely couple and we wish them all the best. Everyone who took part showed amazing courage and really challenged themselves. They did fantastically well and the money raised will make a huge difference to the lives of disabled and terminally ill children who will receive equipment because of it.”

If you would like information on any aspect of fundraising for Newlife or about future parachute jumps to raise money for the charity, visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk  or contact the Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640.

Pictured: Dan proposing to Emma

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