Gareth Thomas' Silver Skydivers for Sport Relief Sport Relief


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Gareth Thomas' Silver Skydivers for Sport Relief

Following former British Lions rugby captain Gareth Thomas as he attempts to conquer his fear of heights and do a parachute jump in aid of Sport Relief.


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Rugby player Gareth Alfie Thomas is

a legend of the game. He captained

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the Lions and was a record try

scorer for Wales and the first

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player to get 100 caps for his

country. He was also the first

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openly gay International sports

star. Fearless on the field and off

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it, his latest challenge is a

skydive from 12,000 feet for Sport

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Relief, which sounds easy, a doddle,

except for one thing. He is

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terrified of heights. Gareth has

acute acrophobia. The hard man who

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broke 40 bones and lost his front

teeth through rugby is paralysed

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through fear of putting on a

parachute was a even a stepladder

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scares him.

We will start with a

small ladder, a stepladder.

But he

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has a plan for the he will recruit a

team to take the challenge on with

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him. It is a team like nine he has

ever played with before. A gang of

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grandmothers and grandfathers to

take to the skies alongside him. Can

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Captain courageous lead from the

front? Take one for the team and

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overcome his acrophobia? I cannot

stop moving. In time for his Sport

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Relief challenge to take flight. It

will take some cajoling, some

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bottle... And hands on help from the

world was my oldest female skydiver.

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Feel the fear and do it anyway. To

get Gareth anywhere near the runway.

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So, strap yourself in, adopt the

brace position and prepare for a

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bumpy ride as we join Gareth

Thomas's Silver Skydivers for Sport

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Relief. Gareth, or Alfie as he is

known to many, might be an

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internationally renowned sportsman

but what he is a homeboy who loves

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his mum and dad.

I come to see my

parents as often as possible. They

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have been unbelievably supportive of

me throughout my whole life. For me,

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it is really important that they

enjoy their old age.

You missed a

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bit.

Get out of here. These are my

achievements in here. Everything I

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did in here was on an environment

that I was quite comfortable with.

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That was with my two feet on the

floor.

Exactly. Nothing in here for

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flying yet.

I have managed to go and

be successful in my life without

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having to take my feet off the

ground.

With me, my fear is that I

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cannot take that step.

I lose

control. Do think it is brave for

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people to overcome their fears? Yes.

You're not willing to overcome

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yours?

No, I don't want to.

I don't

want to. That is the difference

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between me and to you.

I want to.

The difference is actually 25 years.

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No, no comic no. You are saying you

are 25 years older than me. It

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doesn't make a difference.

In my

life I have left, I don't want to do

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anything.

No. There are people who

want to keep challenging themselves.

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That is great. I take my hat off to

them.

I am.

Fine.

Stop going on

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about it. I want to do a Sport

Relief challenge to inspire my

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parents and people exactly the same

as them to realise every day they

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should face a challenge and that age

is just a number.

Man Thomas might

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not be convinced that her boy is

pushing on with his challenge.

I am

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determined to find old age

pensioners who will inspire a

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generation to actually not be afraid

of being old and to look at elderly

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people with respect, coupled with

huge amounts of imagination.

Big

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words and a bold idea. Is it really

achievable? Gareth needs a mental,

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someone who can supercharge his

Silver skydivers skydive but help

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him to overcome his fear of heights.

Do not go gentle into that, good

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night. Rage, rage against the dying

of the night.

Meet Dilys Price. 85

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years young and the visually the

world's oldest female solo skydiver.

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-- and efficiently. What is more she

is Welsh and a rugby fan was she has

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agreed to become Gareth's skydive

Guru.

Let's make a cup of tea.

A

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woman after my own heart. It becomes

apparent why she wants to get

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involved.

I think what you're doing

is fantastic and to thwart I think

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is my passion now, to try to change

lives for people. We start, we live

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and we will die but we have got that

span of life. I don't want the last

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part to Beamish above. Sometimes it

happens partly because of society. I

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am old and I will tell you you have

to fight society. You are doing the

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opposite. You are saying, come on,

get outside your comfort zone and do

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a skydive. If they do a skydive

there would be more receptive to

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change and more open. The amount of

people who say, this is better than

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sex. I love that. That is literal.

It is going to be wonderful.

At what

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age did you do your first skydive?

54. How many have you done?

1139. I

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am in the Guinness book of records

when I was 80.

You are the first

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person I have told this, I'm so

scared of heights he would not

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believe it. If you are standing next

to me I would be OK.

The thing is, I

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was terrified. The first time, I

thought I was dying. I have had a

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couple of scary times. Now she tells

me. It is safer than driving a car.

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You will love it. The more scared

you are the more you will love it

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when you have done it. At some point

you will think, what am I doing this

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for quest to you face the fear of

death, you come down and you are

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invincible. -- doing this? What you

are doing is revolutionary for older

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people.

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people.

Delicious one of the most

incredible people I have met.

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incredible people I have met. --

Dilys is one.

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Dilys is one.

Inspired by Dilys,

Gareth puts out a video on social

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media.

I am looking for women and

men over the age of 60 and under 120

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to do a tandem skydive with me for

Sport Relief.

So, get in touch. Any

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takers?

Oh, yes. The tandem skydive

has been my bucket list as long as I

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could remember.

It is something I

always wanted to be never got around

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to doing.

How old are you, grampa?

Ex-TA. I have was wanted to do a

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skydive but never had the courage to

go ahead and do it.

I want to do

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something new, adventurous.

Are you

too old to skydive?

No. I want to

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show everyone that age is just a

number.

I am aged 87.

I am 77 years

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old. My name is Colin. I will be 71

on January 20 six.

I and 77. I am

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Tony Parkes, 83.

I am 74 years old.

I have never contemplated doing

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anything like this before. I want to

give it a try.

With his Silver

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skydive team coming together, Gareth

turns his attention to the reason

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why he is doing this challenge. The

skydive is to raise money for Sport

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Relief and he wants to look at one

of the community projects for the

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over 50s it helps to fund.

I am on

my way to the rainbow Centre in

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Wrexham to seek myself the benefits

and positive impact this place has

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on people's lives. I might be able

to recruit a few more Silver

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Skydivers while I am there. Peter,

the driver, how are you doing?

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Gareth's 's task is to join

69-year-old Pete who drives the

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minibus.

We take this out every day.

You go over the feel-good factor

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because we tried to look after, care

for and give a good day out. It is

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self rewarding. I remember seeing a

sign, loneliness kills, and it does.

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The rainbow Centre serves an area

carrying more than 150 square miles.

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-- covering. For its clients living

alone and with mobility issues, then

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lifts to the centre are a lifeline.

Do you think that we have been

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helping to look after other people

and that helps you to look after

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yourself?

It does. It is not rocket

science. If we care for ourselves

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look after ourselves will be fitter

and better people for a lot longer.

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As Gareth discovers, the rainbow

Centre offers all sorts of

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activities to keep its clients

physically and mentally stimulated.

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And, what activity does the former

rugby hard man zone in on? Hallow,

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ladies. Knitting. Maybe it is an

opportunity to stitch up some more

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skydivers.

Can you imagine being on

the aeroplane and opening up the

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doors and saying, can wield jump out

now? I am not trying to put you off.

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-- can we all jumped out now?

You

only live once.

Why is this table

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not doing skydiving? We are too old.

My you letting your age dictate what

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you can and cannot do?

As you get

older you see more fear in life.

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Also you lose confidence in life.

Really?

It is. It is having that

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confidence to go and do it.

Social

isolation has a big impact on

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confidence and it is here that the

Rainbow Centre support counts.

A lot

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of people coming here are people who

cannot get out of a house. When they

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come into here we want to give them

a chance to socialise. Some of the

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people we work with might have

dementia. It is hard to have those

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conversations you or I would have.

When we bring children in, everyone

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is equal and we do singing, dancing

and crafts. It's about people not

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feeling isolated and excluded.

I

would enjoy it here. The best job

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ever.

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ever.

Going to meet the people and

getting to know them, I realised

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that this project with this

sentiment these people's lives would

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be so lonely. This gives them a

purpose, a reason to get up in the

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morning and gives them something to

look forward to. The money you

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donate to Sport Relief helps

projects like this keep running. So,

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please, please donate generously.

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Meanwhile, Gareth has one last piece

of business to attend to. He has got

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word that the manageress of the

cafe, Sheila, is ready to join his

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silver skydivers.

What made you want

to take part?

I reached a point in

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my life that I was 60, and nothing

really fazes me. It is like, get out

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there and do it, life is too short.

We've lost so many of our friends in

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the last couple of years who have

died way too soon, and they have not

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enjoyed their lives. So it's like,

get out there and do it.

That is the

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flip of what society says age is.

My

Grans always seemed old, they lost

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their husbands quite young, at 60

they would get their pension, and

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then it was like, slippers and sit

by the fire. But it has all changed,

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I hope it has, it has for me. It's

like 60s, I could do these things.

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Piece of cake! With his first

volunteer in the bag, Gareth spots

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Sheila's husband enjoying his lunch.

Would you be up for it, then? Not

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even a hesitation!

I hate heights,

but I will do it.

And Gareth wanders

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into the garden.

It is something I

have always wanted to do.

Really?

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He's in! And tears when he bagged

earlier, Peter.

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earlier, Peter. Now the Gareth has

got his team in place, it's time he

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started facing his fear of heights.

And he's received a call to arms

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from skydive guru Dilys offering an

intervention. She has a life mantra.

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Feel the fear and do it anyway. Is

this something Gareth can embrace?

I

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want so much to clean the back

window, and can't get anyone to do

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it.

You want me to go up the ladder?

We will start with a small, a step

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ladder, and it will prepare you for

skydiving. Right! I like what you

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have done there.

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have done there. You didn't need to

Winnall like that. Go straight, go

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flat. I have got to show you how to

do this. How do you feel now? I

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don't like it when I can't see the

floor, my

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floor, my legs do go a little bit.

But you are doing well, you are

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keeping your balance well and you

are doing the window beautifully. I

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will think about you, and your ears

will burn. Thank you so much, Alfie,

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it's wonderful. Now I have got one

more job. This is as safe as

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anything. You'll be all right.

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Try and be logical about it. Just

use your head and no that it is

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safe. You've got a good ladder,

nothing can go wrong. (BLEEP)

I

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don't think I can go up any more.

Leave it there, you have achieved a

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lot. But just remember what you did.

When I look at it from a ground

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level, that is pathetic. Anyone who

can't go to the top of that and

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clean that window is not tough at

all. So I think it's a bit of a

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realisation that maybe I do need to

confront it.

But before he can do

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anything else about his acrophobia,

he needs to get his silver skydivers

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together. The jump is four weeks

away, they all have to do a

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pre-assessment at Swansea airport to

make sure everybody is fit enough to

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take a 12,000 foot plunge. The

silver skydivers have gathered from

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all four corners of Wales. The

youngest, Jane, is 60, the eldest,

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Eric, is 87. And there are reasons

for wanting to do the jump are wide

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and varied, aside from raising funds

for Sport Relief.

Are you not scared

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by it?

I have never been up in a

plane.

See you don't know if you are

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scared of heights?

I have been on a

ladder.

And the sort who can say,

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you carry on, it will be fine, I

will sit here and read a book. This

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is the first time I have ever said,

I could do that.

What made you want

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to do it?

I have Parkinson's, and it

is a downward slope, you are never

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going to get better. The thing to do

is exercise, set yourself

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challenging targets, I have

Parkinson's, but Parkinson's is not

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going to have me.

What an amazing

thing to be doing.

Thankfully, Ken's

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illness has not progressed enough to

prevent in doing the job, but like

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all of the silver skydivers, he has

had to get a doctor's certificate to

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even get this far. And there are

still potential pitfalls.

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still potential pitfalls. Do they

have the core strength to keep their

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legs are near on landing, and are

they the right weight and body mass?

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Sadly, not everyone clears this

hurdle.

I was lighter than that last

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year.

Sheila, the cafe manager at

the rainbow Centre, has a

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disappointing news.

I am too heavy,

and I won't get the weight off in

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time because of other commitments.

It's not the end of the world, I

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won't go home distraught.

Said the

bat on passes to our husband, Dean,

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who is having doubts when it comes

time to sign.

It has got to be his

0:20:010:20:08

decision. Just man up!

It is about

conquering your fear.

It is a

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massive fear.

You are scared as I

am?

Yes!

Fear is good.

In fairness,

0:20:170:20:24

the room is awash with nerves.

I am

terrified. If Gareth is scared,

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every body could be scared, surely!

But Gareth has brought his secret

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weapon along to calm the fears. His

fearless skydive guru, Dilys.

, have

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everyone's attention? Thank you so

much for putting yourself forward to

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jump out of an aeroplane. I'm not

going to lie, I'm afraid of doing

0:20:460:20:51

this. Who wouldn't be afraid? But

there is a woman who when I first

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met her made me feel like actually

it will be a great experience, so I

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am hugely honoured that doing it

with us will be Dilys! So, introduce

0:20:590:21:08

yourself.

0:21:080:21:13

yourself.

You will never regret it,

and it is OK to be scared, but don't

0:21:130:21:18

forget, scared misses excitement.

You only just have to and turn it to

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excitement. I started when I was 54,

and nobody could be more scared than

0:21:230:21:27

I was. Why did it, and it blew my

life open, so I tell anybody who is

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in a bit of a rut with the pressures

of life, do a skydive, and it will

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transform you for ever.

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Delist has settled the team, nerves

are under control and confidence is

0:21:450:21:50

returning. Time for the gang to see

the plane they will be jumping out

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of in 28 days.

Where is first class?

We do get your drinks?

And time

0:21:530:22:02

enough Gareth to gracefully adopt

the perfect parachute position.

0:22:020:22:11

the perfect parachute position.

When

we are about to exit the aircraft,

0:22:110:22:13

we will get you ready, so what we

ask you to do is to put your hands

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on his knees, pushed down.

On top of

his legs? Someone is pleased to see

0:22:190:22:29

me! I'm scared doing it like this!

Legs back.

And go.

0:22:290:22:50

Well, that's it, we are done! Thank

you! I don't think I need to confess

0:22:580:23:04

my fears, because I couldn't really

hold them in.

You were great. That

0:23:040:23:09

is by far the scariest. When you are

in the situation you are doing it,

0:23:090:23:14

that rehearsal we were there and

staying there, and the crowd is a

0:23:140:23:17

few feet below, much harder than the

real thing, and I would have been

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scared of had been there as well.

She is brilliant.

I can see the look

0:23:200:23:27

in your eye.

As always, Dilys put my

mind at ease, because she has this

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way as the others do, putting things

into perspective. She made me feel

0:23:330:23:37

OK about it, but the biggest thing

is I feel like I am part of a really

0:23:370:23:42

good team. We haven't done anything

together, we haven't achieved

0:23:420:23:45

anything together yet, but we have a

really good bond that we are about

0:23:450:23:51

to do something really, really

great.

So, four weeks until liftoff.

0:23:510:23:58

Four weeks the Gareth to come to

terms with his phobia of heights.

0:23:580:24:02

And four weeks in which to get to

know his silver skydivers little bit

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better. Starting with Ken. For Ken,

intense physical exercise is central

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to managing his Parkinson's. He's

invited Gareth to attend a work-out

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from people with Parkinson's at an

independent physio programme he

0:24:180:24:21

attends a Newport.

My welcoming

party! How are you doing?

Travelling

0:24:210:24:29

slowly.

We go through to the gym, is

it?

I do this twice a week. Torture

0:24:290:24:41

twice a week. It has all got to be

high-intensity, high impact, these

0:24:410:24:46

to 80% effort, that is what it is

all about. It helps build new

0:24:460:24:49

pathways through the brain, because

at the moment my brain is slowly

0:24:490:24:53

dying away, and all I want to do is

prolong the time it takes to die

0:24:530:24:57

away.

Ken on the other participants

do intense work-out twice a week.

0:24:570:25:04

It's one way of managing their

condition, but it isn't a cure.

So

0:25:040:25:10

can you explain to me exactly what

Parkinson's is.

It is a neurological

0:25:100:25:15

condition where the part of the

brain that controls movement, the

0:25:150:25:22

neurons die away. You don't know

you've got Parkinson's until about

0:25:220:25:26

70% of the neurons have died away

anyway, so I only left with 30%. It

0:25:260:25:31

starts with a tremor, shaking hands.

You get muscular rigidity and

0:25:310:25:35

slowness of movement. It can lead to

things like depression and dementia.

0:25:350:25:41

There currently is no cure.

Are you

on...

Medication, but the best way

0:25:410:25:50

to stimulate your brain is through

exercise.

Right.

Before giving

0:25:500:25:54

Gareth a taste of the exercise

regime, Ken and his friends have a

0:25:540:25:57

special welcome laid on, their very

own version of a hacker.

Are you

0:25:570:26:03

ready? Aka, the Paka. One, two,

three, four, we're here at the door,

0:26:030:26:19

five, six, seven, eight, we are here

and we feel great. Float like a

0:26:190:26:24

butterfly, sting like a bee.

0:26:240:26:32

butterfly, sting like a bee.

Oh,

that! I have faced some hakas in my

0:26:320:26:37

time, but that was class.

Little

tasks, they are good as well.

And

0:26:370:26:46

acrobatics!

0:26:460:26:54

acrobatics! Badminton, fencing,

football.

I am 007.

Which was your

0:26:540:27:03

favourite James Bond?

Sean Connery.

And your favourite film?

0:27:030:27:13

And your favourite film?

Goldfinger.

And your favourite drink?

Vodka

0:27:140:27:20

martini, shaken not stirred.

He has

an understanding of the disease he

0:27:200:27:25

has, and understanding of his

limitations, but he is not going to

0:27:250:27:29

let it hold him down.

With

Parkinson's, it is achieving that

0:27:290:27:35

movement that is the problem,

because that is why we are slow,

0:27:350:27:38

jerky.

Say you need to go fast? And

he is focusing on the things he can

0:27:380:27:43

do rather than the things he can't

do, which makes him an inspiring,

0:27:430:27:48

amazing human being. And to see how

hard he works just be able to get up

0:27:480:27:55

in the and get out of bed. You know,

people go training to do ironman

0:27:550:28:03

triathlons, and Ken has to come to

train to be able to walk potentially

0:28:030:28:08

to the toilet or to be able to pick

something up. Come on, come on! When

0:28:080:28:15

I moan about being afraid of

heights, when I see people like Ken,

0:28:150:28:19

it gives me inspiration to challenge

those fears and confront them, to

0:28:190:28:23

take them head-on and to get through

the other side, because unless you

0:28:230:28:26

confront your fears, then I suppose

you will never really know who you

0:28:260:28:30

are or what you are capable of.

Inspired by Ken's example, Gareth

0:28:300:28:35

decides it's high time he faced his

fears head-on, and so he has come to

0:28:350:28:40

the Peak District. He has signed

himself up a course called

0:28:400:28:43

overcoming your of heights. But

somewhere between the Severn Bridge

0:28:430:28:48

and Derby, Captain courageous

appears to have lost his bottle.

0:28:480:28:55

Not only am I afraid of heights I

don't want to overcome my fear of

0:28:550:29:00

heights. That means I have to face

it and that is scary in itself.

This

0:29:000:29:07

is Will. He is in charge of

entertainment.

The way this course

0:29:070:29:11

works we will incrementally take you

out of your comfort zone. We'll

0:29:110:29:18

start small and then as you get used

to it we will take you on to the

0:29:180:29:22

next challenge.

OK. Gareth is going

abseiling. A gentle 3-step approach,

0:29:220:29:30

amounting to block is no more than

an oversized molehill, not that

0:29:300:29:35

Gareth sees it that way.

I am

processing information. In other

0:29:350:29:40

words, I am packing my pants.

If all

else fails, Gareth can always call

0:29:400:29:51

on his inner Rainbow Centre.

0:29:510:29:57

on his inner Rainbow Centre.

Dilys

is amazing. Today, if you have a

0:29:570:30:00

wobble, were new to imagine that

Dilys is there beside you, imagine

0:30:000:30:05

what she would be saying to you.

She

would say, feel the fear and do it

0:30:050:30:12

anyway, Alfie. Do it anyway.

In

Dilys, Gareth. In Dilys.

All the way

0:30:120:30:23

up. Pull yourself up. That is just

demonstrating how the whole rig

0:30:230:30:29

works.

Come on, bed grills. Next

challenge. Oh, hallow, that is a bit

0:30:290:30:37

steep.

Stand up without touching

anything. Breeze. --

0:30:370:30:53

anything. Breeze. -- breathe. You

are doing really well. You are on a

0:30:530:30:57

public toilet and the door lock is

broken and both your legs are

0:30:570:31:03

stopping the door from opening. You

are all right bit. She is below you,

0:31:030:31:14

saying, come on, Alfie. Alfie, well

done.

Every part of my body was

0:31:140:31:21

tensed. I thought I was going to cry

at 1.I was so scared. It is nothing.

0:31:210:31:30

I actually feel quite pathetic. It

is such a... I don't know. Such a

0:31:300:31:39

vulnerable feeling.

Having almost

made the dog's dinner of step two,

0:31:390:31:49

how will Gareth manage his final

challenge, the 100 foot drop that is

0:31:490:31:55

the cliff face of doom?

When you are

ready. All I wanted to do is come

0:31:550:32:00

round this way a little bit. Feet

coming to the edge. Keep going. A

0:32:000:32:06

bit more. That is good. You are

doing really well.

0:32:060:32:14

doing really well.

Breathe. I cannot

stop moving. I can lock you off.

0:32:140:32:21

That is fine. Good lads, Alfie. You

are really there. Only a metre of

0:32:210:32:32

the floor. Look down. Stand up. That

was really good.

I have not overcome

0:32:320:32:39

my fear of heights but I have

overcome my anticipation of being

0:32:390:32:44

petrified before I face my fear of

heights.

It is not by moment you are

0:32:440:32:49

having a fear of heights then you

are fine. It is all part of a

0:32:490:32:53

journey and you up on that journey.

Gareth one, the sky, zero.

A week

0:32:530:33:05

later, Gareth is heading to auroral

village in the Brecon Beacons. He is

0:33:050:33:13

going to see the oldest member of

the skydiving team. Three weeks ago,

0:33:130:33:18

back at the pre-assessment,

87-year-old Eric was unable to pass

0:33:180:33:24

the physical and was informed he

would not be able to do the skydive.

0:33:240:33:30

But, in this team, no one gets left

behind.

What was your first job?

I

0:33:300:33:38

was in the Fire Service mainly.

After National Service. Did you do

0:33:380:33:43

National Service?

No.

I didn't. 18

years ago Eric and his wife moved to

0:33:430:33:49

Wales from Yorkshire to be near his

daughter and grandchildren. Eric was

0:33:490:33:55

widowed two years ago.

Christmas

2015 she passed away.

It seems like

0:33:550:34:03

last week. Really? I bet you miss

her every day. Yeah. How long would

0:34:030:34:11

you have been married then?

63

years.

A lifetime.

What was her

0:34:110:34:19

name? Eileen Margret. Beautiful

girl. We got married and never

0:34:190:34:26

regretted it. We were lucky. It was

lovely.

A lifetime together. Does it

0:34:260:34:34

make you feel lonely at times?

Very

lonely. Particularly in the winter

0:34:340:34:40

because you cannot go in the garden

and you do not see your neighbours

0:34:400:34:44

at all, you see. It is very lonely.

Eric's family visit as regularly as

0:34:440:34:51

possible but living alone days can

be long and solitary. For Eric like

0:34:510:34:56

many who lose a life partner,

isolation can be a daily burden.

It

0:34:560:35:04

is interesting to know why you

wanted to do a skydive. Is it

0:35:040:35:08

because you are lonely anyone to

show people that you can still do

0:35:080:35:14

things?

It is an experience. It is

something adventurous. I know things

0:35:140:35:22

are sort of shutting down gradually

but I don't want to go too quickly.

0:35:220:35:27

No. What we want to do today is

mainly something that is as close to

0:35:270:35:35

the experience of skydiving...

Are

you going to blow me up?

In fact,

0:35:350:35:41

blowing upwards is kind of what

Gareth has in mind. He wants to take

0:35:410:35:48

Eric for an indoor -- indoor

skydiving experience.

You see that?

0:35:480:35:55

Yeah. I need to fix my teeth so I do

not lose them. Apart from that, it

0:35:550:36:02

is OK.

Two hours later and the

dynamic duo are ready to fly.

Are

0:36:020:36:12

the teeth stuck in all right

question what they are in.

Try and

0:36:120:36:16

push your hips down towards the

neck. When you relax it would be

0:36:160:36:25

easy. You do not want to go in there

and start to fight the wind. OK?

0:36:250:36:32

Did you enjoy that? Was it good?

Excellent. Eric is here for fun. But

0:37:070:37:17

Alfie is here as part of his

training. Without jumping out of a

0:37:170:37:23

plane, this is the closest thing you

find to freefalling. And it will be

0:37:230:37:29

a good guide to how much his

confidence has improved since

0:37:290:37:34

abseiling.

0:37:340:37:35

Cheers, man. Thank you. I never

thought I would enjoy that. Eric, in

0:37:570:38:08

87 years you have been on this

planet, did you ever think you would

0:38:080:38:12

be doing that?

No but never thought

that at all. I thought I might be

0:38:120:38:17

doing it there but not... Skydiving

is a thing that you should not miss

0:38:170:38:25

if you have got the opportunity to

do it.

0:38:250:38:28

With Eric unable to do the skydive,

there is one other team member

0:38:330:38:39

Gareth is concerned might not make

it, Chris. At the pre-assessment he

0:38:390:38:43

was given a set of exercises to

strengthen his legs. Gareth has been

0:38:430:38:49

to his hometown of Brecon to check

on his progress and to find out what

0:38:490:38:54

is driving him to get fit enough to

join the challenge.

Who is this?

0:38:540:39:01

That is my dad. Chris was born 64

years ago in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia,

0:39:010:39:07

as it was then.

I have five sisters

and seven Brothers.

The family. One

0:39:070:39:15

of 13 children, Chris was always

very bright but was discriminated

0:39:150:39:19

against because of the colour of his

skin.

I love education. Growing up

0:39:190:39:25

in Rhodesia, being black, you are

not given a chance because it was

0:39:250:39:29

taken from you. You were a failure

before you started. Do you feel that

0:39:290:39:35

is a burning thing inside you?

I

knew that. I knew I could do more.

0:39:350:39:41

Chris made his way to Britain in the

1970s where he was finally able to

0:39:410:39:47

realise his academic ambitions.

I

was taken to Shropshire.

Having

0:39:470:39:55

earned a degree in psychology, Chris

spent his working life in the NHS

0:39:550:40:00

specialising in clinical trauma and

rising to become head of royal

0:40:000:40:05

Gloucester infirmary.

Opportunities

are what you create.

Nice. Nice. I

0:40:050:40:12

will use that line.

That is a

brilliant line. You create your own

0:40:120:40:18

opportunities in your own happiness.

You create your own self-esteem and

0:40:180:40:22

you know what you are capable of

doing. For me, nothing phases me.

0:40:220:40:29

Nothing is to be feared. It is only

to be understood.

And then, moving

0:40:290:40:37

on, I suppose, doing a skydive,

after all the challenges he faced,

0:40:370:40:41

is it a big deal?

No. No, it is not.

Any challenges, any obstructions,

0:40:410:40:55

any blockages, make us stronger

people, determined people.

Free.

0:40:550:41:00

Makes you free. I think I love you.

Honestly, I am honoured to have sat

0:41:000:41:07

here and spoken to you. From that,

shall we move onto making sure that

0:41:070:41:13

you can do the skydive? The last

time we were here, physically we

0:41:130:41:16

were worried about you being able to

lift your leg.

Gareth has arranged a

0:41:160:41:22

Pilates class for Chris. There are

focused way to work on his muscles.

0:41:220:41:30

-- a focused way.

Hold it on the in

breath.

I think Chris has blown my

0:41:300:41:41

mind he is such an amazing person.

Tried to bring one leg down and keep

0:41:410:41:46

the other up.

He is not content with

just doing it he wants to master it.

0:41:460:41:58

Look at him! He is advanced already.

Two weeks ago he could not lift his

0:41:580:42:03

leg off the floor and now he is like

Olga Corbett.

0:42:030:42:11

Olga Corbett.

I have always wanted a

six-pack.

0:42:110:42:17

The parachute jump is just three

days away and the Silver Skydivers

0:42:220:42:27

are out raising funds for Sport

Relief. In a final attempt to lay

0:42:270:42:33

waste to his acrophobia, Captain

Alfie has agreed to one last stand.

0:42:330:42:37

Feel the fear and do it anyway. With

the help of Cardiff Central Station

0:42:370:42:44

51, he will attempt to climb a

fireman's ladder, almost three times

0:42:440:42:49

the height of the cliff he abseil in

Derbyshire.

Right. I am not OK but I

0:42:490:42:56

am going to do it. I know I don't

have to do it but I am going to do

0:42:560:43:02

it.

As part of his height awareness

training, Alfie has had anxiety

0:43:020:43:08

counselling. How well has it worked?

He is about to find out.

0:43:080:43:17

Alfie, get up there! If you don't,

we are not doing the skydive, we are

0:43:180:43:26

on strike! , and, Alfie! Go on,

Alfie! I can't believe this, well

0:43:260:43:34

done, my boy. Go, go, go!

Alfie,

Alfie, Alfie!

How much further?

0:43:340:43:48

You're doing brilliant, Alfie, keep

it going.

0:43:480:43:57

it going.

(BLEEP)

one step at a

time, keep concentrating.

One step

0:43:570:44:01

at a time, you are almost there now.

How is that? Are you enjoying that?

0:44:010:44:10

Love it!

You're going to have to

take a step over.

How do I get over

0:44:100:44:21

there?

It's wobbling! Take your

time.

0:44:210:44:27

CHEERING

Give us a wave, Alfie!

I need to try

0:44:270:44:39

and relax. I can't think about

relaxing.

0:44:390:44:47

relaxing.

Remember those techniques

you learned in Derby. Have a little

0:44:480:44:53

breather, because we are going to

take you up higher now. This goes up

0:44:530:44:57

a lot higher. We're going to go and

have a look and see how you feel,

0:44:570:45:02

OK?

Oh, my God!

0:45:020:45:08

OK?

Oh, my God!

We are about four

fifths of the way up now.

That is

0:45:080:45:15

high, isn't it? Rather him than me.

0:45:150:45:21

Oh, my God, oh, my God.

Do you want

to go on to there?

Is it wobbly out

0:45:280:45:36

there?

It is exactly the same. Take

your time.

0:45:360:45:51

Oh...

And of course, what goes up

must climb back down. In delicious!

0:45:550:46:08

Have a think about this.

0:46:080:46:14

Have a think about this. I'm only

joking, there is no way we would let

0:46:180:46:20

you do this.

Oh!

There is only a few

of us do this, there is no chance

0:46:200:46:28

you would be doing that.

Right, OK,

then. We can go down now.

I think he

0:46:280:46:36

has really done something amazing.

If he can do that, we can do

0:46:360:46:41

anything.

0:46:410:46:47

anything.

Dilys, that was so scary.

When you said turn fear into

0:46:470:46:53

excitement, I nearly turned it into

something else!

0:46:530:46:57

Mission accomplished, leaving one

last challenge. The skydive itself.

0:46:570:47:02

And after what Gareth's just

achieve, it will be like falling off

0:47:020:47:06

a log. Albeit a 12,000 feet tall

one.

0:47:060:47:21

Jump day. 16 senior citizens are

hoping to become Silver skydivers.

0:47:260:47:34

They are feeling fearless,

adventurous, excited.

Brilliant. I

0:47:340:47:40

can't wait.

Nervous.

I was all right

until I reach the airport. Now I am

0:47:400:47:47

feeling, oh, my God.

Nervous?

Very.

We have two parachutes, the main

0:47:470:47:55

one, the reserve one. The main one,

we plan on using. I have done 3000

0:47:550:48:05

skydive is, and only once it hasn't

worked. What is the worst that can

0:48:050:48:11

happen?

We die.

No!

I have never

been in a plane, so I don't know

0:48:110:48:19

what I will feel like, the runway,

going up, I have never experienced

0:48:190:48:23

it.

And how is Captain Courageous?

This was all started by me, so I

0:48:230:48:35

should be the one on this day of all

days to be the main motivator, but

0:48:350:48:40

at the back of my mind is this huge

niggling fear that I really don't

0:48:400:48:44

want to do it, but I want to

persuade everyone else, because I

0:48:440:48:48

really want them to have this bucket

list moment where they say, I did

0:48:480:48:53

it, and I enjoyed it, and thank you

Alfie forgiving me the chance. So I

0:48:530:48:58

am trying to be the positive one and

keep everybody motivated, but it's

0:48:580:49:02

extremely difficult when you know

deep down you are frightened.

The

0:49:020:49:10

Silver skydivers are expecting Alfie

to deliver the team talk of his

0:49:100:49:13

life. But he needs a pep talk of his

own from his skydive Guru Dilys.

0:49:130:49:18

Turn it upside down. The adrenaline,

which is scared and is, turn it the

0:49:180:49:24

other way and it is excitement. You

are bursting with excitement. It is

0:49:240:49:28

that twist.

I know. The one thing

that has got me out of bed this

0:49:280:49:33

money to come here is the fact that

you said once you are out on flying,

0:49:330:49:38

it will be one of the most wonderful

experiences ever. And that is the

0:49:380:49:42

one thing that got me here. As much

as I am afraid of doing this, there

0:49:420:49:47

is probably nowhere else in the

world I would rather be than here.

0:49:470:49:51

Not because we are skydiving, but

because I just feel like I am with a

0:49:510:49:55

group of people who are doing

something really special, and the

0:49:550:50:00

whole underline of this is to

understand what senior citizens are

0:50:000:50:03

capable of doing. And if anybody has

ever shown that message, it has been

0:50:030:50:09

in the last couple of weeks and when

I have been around to see some of

0:50:090:50:14

you individually, and more

importantly what collectively we are

0:50:140:50:16

all going to do today, it is just

such a great message that makes you

0:50:160:50:19

and this room full of heroes and

legends. So thank you from me, enjoy

0:50:190:50:28

it, enjoy it, Glenn! Because if

there is one person I have met on

0:50:280:50:34

this whole journey who has taught me

that you feel the fear and do it

0:50:340:50:40

anyway, it is Dilys, so I put all my

faith in what she has said, and so

0:50:400:50:43

far everything she has said has come

true, so I'm sure in a couple of

0:50:430:50:46

hours when we have finished, we will

all be sitting here thinking, why

0:50:460:50:49

were we so afraid of the first

place?

You can do it and you will

0:50:490:50:53

love it!

Let's get out there!

0:50:530:51:02

It is like a Pringles tube with

wings.

It is the moment of truth

0:51:020:51:08

Gareth Thomas and his Silver

skydivers. They will be jumping in

0:51:080:51:12

small groups across five flights,

with Gareth and Dilys flying last.

0:51:120:51:18

Flight number one is Tony, 83.

Gaynor, 64, and billing, 62 and

0:51:180:51:25

petrified.

Smile, Glenn!

0:51:250:51:33

As they say, it just got real. God.

Everyone will be exiting the plane

0:51:360:51:49

at 12,000 feet above the stunning

Swansea skyline. Starting with

0:51:490:51:52

Gaynor.

0:51:520:51:55

Then Tony. Then Glyn.

0:52:030:52:06

Oh, yes! Oh, good God! I can't

believe I have done that.

0:52:160:52:28

How was that?

It was great!

It was

brilliant!

Never again! It was

0:52:300:52:45

awesome.

0:52:450:52:50

awesome.

And suddenly, it's raining

Silver skydivers. Val, 77, Jane, 61,

0:52:500:52:59

Margaret, 72.

0:52:590:53:01

And then Colin, the man who at 71

has never been in a plane, let alone

0:53:050:53:09

jumped out of it.

0:53:090:53:15

Nothing about.

Serious?

Honest to

God, that was wonderful.

0:53:220:53:31

God, that was wonderful.

And Ken, a

man whose fortitude and zest for

0:53:320:53:34

life in spite of Parkinson's has

inspired Gareth so much.

0:53:340:53:37

Thumbs up for the camera!

And

joining Ken's flight are Malcolm,

0:53:480:53:57

69, Paul, 68, piloting his own

maiden flight. And Evan, 74, pleased

0:53:570:54:03

as punch to be up there.

0:54:030:54:09

as punch to be up there.

Thank you.

That was great.

0:54:100:54:15

That was great.

Mate, how was it?

Fantastic. Absolutely out of this

0:54:170:54:23

world.

Absolutely out of this world!

Spencer, 65, has hitched a ride with

0:54:230:54:30

Allen, 60. And Chris is having a

quick check to see of his Pilates

0:54:300:54:38

lessons are paying off.

0:54:380:54:43

Chris, how was that?

Awesome!

0:54:440:54:51

Leaving one last planeload, and a

doubting Thomas called Gareth.

OK,

0:54:510:54:58

Alfie, we are nearly there. This is

the darkest moment before the dawn.

0:54:580:55:02

You are going to do it, and it's

going to be wonderful.

All I'm

0:55:020:55:07

thinking about now, I'm thinking not

about me but about everyone else who

0:55:070:55:10

has done it and why I have to do it,

and that's it. That's it. If I

0:55:100:55:16

enjoyed, I enjoyed, if I don't, I

don't, but one way or the other...

0:55:160:55:23

This is me facing probably one of

the biggest fears I have ever had in

0:55:230:55:27

my life, and if I overcome it, then

I will be a very proud man.

Pete,

0:55:270:55:35

the Rainbow Centre minibus driver is

first out. Next comes Dilys on John

0:55:350:55:43

to number 1140.

And last but by no

means least comes Captain

0:55:430:55:50

Courageous. Keeping his word and

hopefully his dignity, is doing what

0:55:500:55:55

he always swore to do, jump out with

his team is Silver skydivers from

0:55:550:56:00

12,000 feet. And down on the ground

or the two people he wanted to

0:56:000:56:08

inspire most to embrace adventure in

their old age.

0:56:080:56:15

their old age. His mum and his dad.

0:56:150:56:18

Oh! What I do with my legs?

Bend

your knees.

Yes!

0:56:250:56:39

your knees.

Yes!

Are you doing it

again?

Oh, my God.

Are you OK?

Oh...

0:56:390:56:47

Congratulations. You are the

bravest, most wonderful man.

0:56:470:56:52

Wonderful. You have done it! That is

amazing, Alfie. I do so admire you.

0:56:520:57:00

I genuinely did not want to do that.

That was the scariest thing I have

0:57:000:57:05

ever done in my entire life. And I

reckon maybe tomorrow or the day

0:57:050:57:09

after or the day after... But for

the rest of my life, I can always

0:57:090:57:15

look back and so had a great

experience with a great group of

0:57:150:57:19

people, a once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity to do it, so as much as

0:57:190:57:22

I absolutely hated every minute of

it, I wouldn't change it for the

0:57:220:57:24

world. Everybody, I would just like

to raise a toast the Gareth Thomas

0:57:240:57:35

of the Silver skydivers, on a life

affirming life changing moment.

0:57:350:57:37

Cheers!

0:57:370:57:43

When I first met Dilys, she said to

me, we have to make every day of our

0:57:430:57:49

life count. I am here today with a

group of people that have shown me

0:57:490:57:55

she was right. They made me do

something I couldn't imagine doing,

0:57:550:57:58

and they only did it because of the

help of the strength that they all

0:57:580:58:01

gave me, but the jump was all about

raising money to help others who

0:58:010:58:04

don't have that strength that

support. Money raised through Sport

0:58:040:58:09

Relief helps fund projects to

support people whether they are five

0:58:090:58:14

or 105. But it's down to your

generosity to make this happen, so

0:58:140:58:17

please get on it and donate.

To

donate:

0:58:170:58:30

Sport Relief!

0:58:340:58:39

Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas is a former British Lions captain, who represented Wales at both Union and Rugby League and broke 40 bones during his playing career. He was also the first professional rugby player to publicly announce that he was gay and has proven himself in sport and in life to be totally fearless. Except for one thing. He is terrified of heights. Any heights. The hard man of the rugby field can't even a climb step ladder without being crippled by anxiety. And he hates flying too. But for Sport Relief this year he will face that fear by agreeing to take part in a very special parachute jump. He will take to the air with a team of skydiving OAPs - each of them first-time jumpers and everyone of them committed to showing that age and fear is no barrier to taking on a challenge. Their coach is 85-year-old Welsh wonder Dilys Price, the world's oldest female skydiver, and its her job to get Gareth to conquer his fears - coaxing him through ever more terrifying height challenges and ultimately the big jump itself. Meanwhile, his new teammates give him an insight into their lives and how growing old can be the biggest challenge of all.