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
the Lions and was a record try
scorer for Wales and the first
player to get 100 caps for his
country. He was also the first
openly gay International sports
star. Fearless on the field and off
it, his latest challenge is a
skydive from 12,000 feet for Sport
Relief, which sounds easy, a doddle,
except for one thing. He is
terrified of heights. Gareth has
acute acrophobia. The hard man who
broke 40 bones and lost his front
teeth through rugby is paralysed
through fear of putting on a
parachute was a even a stepladder
We will start with a
small ladder, a stepladder.
has a plan for the he will recruit a
team to take the challenge on with
him. It is a team like nine he has
ever played with before. A gang of
grandmothers and grandfathers to
take to the skies alongside him. Can
Captain courageous lead from the
front? Take one for the team and
overcome his acrophobia? I cannot
stop moving. In time for his Sport
Relief challenge to take flight. It
will take some cajoling, some
bottle... And hands on help from the
world was my oldest female skydiver.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. To
get Gareth anywhere near the runway.
So, strap yourself in, adopt the
brace position and prepare for a
bumpy ride as we join Gareth
Thomas's Silver Skydivers for Sport
Relief. Gareth, or Alfie as he is
known to many, might be an
internationally renowned sportsman
but what he is a homeboy who loves
his mum and dad.
I come to see my
parents as often as possible. They
have been unbelievably supportive of
me throughout my whole life. For me,
it is really important that they
enjoy their old age.
You missed a
Get out of here. These are my
achievements in here. Everything I
did in here was on an environment
that I was quite comfortable with.
That was with my two feet on the
Exactly. Nothing in here for
I have managed to go and
be successful in my life without
having to take my feet off the
With me, my fear is that I
cannot take that step.
control. Do think it is brave for
people to overcome their fears? Yes.
You're not willing to overcome
No, I don't want to.
want to. That is the difference
between me and to you.
I want to.
The difference is actually 25 years.
No, no comic no. You are saying you
are 25 years older than me. It
doesn't make a difference.
life I have left, I don't want to do
No. There are people who
want to keep challenging themselves.
That is great. I take my hat off to
Stop going on
about it. I want to do a Sport
Relief challenge to inspire my
parents and people exactly the same
as them to realise every day they
should face a challenge and that age
is just a number.
Man Thomas might
not be convinced that her boy is
pushing on with his challenge.
determined to find old age
pensioners who will inspire a
generation to actually not be afraid
of being old and to look at elderly
people with respect, coupled with
huge amounts of imagination.
words and a bold idea. Is it really
achievable? Gareth needs a mental,
someone who can supercharge his
Silver skydivers skydive but help
him to overcome his fear of heights.
Do not go gentle into that, good
night. Rage, rage against the dying
of the night.
Meet Dilys Price. 85
years young and the visually the
world's oldest female solo skydiver.
-- and efficiently. What is more she
is Welsh and a rugby fan was she has
agreed to become Gareth's skydive
Let's make a cup of tea.
woman after my own heart. It becomes
apparent why she wants to get
I think what you're doing
is fantastic and to thwart I think
is my passion now, to try to change
lives for people. We start, we live
and we will die but we have got that
span of life. I don't want the last
part to Beamish above. Sometimes it
happens partly because of society. I
am old and I will tell you you have
to fight society. You are doing the
opposite. You are saying, come on,
get outside your comfort zone and do
a skydive. If they do a skydive
there would be more receptive to
change and more open. The amount of
people who say, this is better than
sex. I love that. That is literal.
It is going to be wonderful.
age did you do your first skydive?
54. How many have you done?
am in the Guinness book of records
when I was 80.
You are the first
person I have told this, I'm so
scared of heights he would not
believe it. If you are standing next
to me I would be OK.
The thing is, I
was terrified. The first time, I
thought I was dying. I have had a
couple of scary times. Now she tells
me. It is safer than driving a car.
You will love it. The more scared
you are the more you will love it
when you have done it. At some point
you will think, what am I doing this
for quest to you face the fear of
death, you come down and you are
invincible. -- doing this? What you
are doing is revolutionary for older
Delicious one of the most
incredible people I have met.
incredible people I have met. --
Dilys is one.
Dilys is one.
Inspired by Dilys,
Gareth puts out a video on social
I am looking for women and
men over the age of 60 and under 120
to do a tandem skydive with me for
So, get in touch. Any
Oh, yes. The tandem skydive
has been my bucket list as long as I
It is something I
always wanted to be never got around
How old are you, grampa?
Ex-TA. I have was wanted to do a
skydive but never had the courage to
go ahead and do it.
I want to do
something new, adventurous.
too old to skydive?
No. I want to
show everyone that age is just a
I am aged 87.
I am 77 years
old. My name is Colin. I will be 71
on January 20 six.
I and 77. I am
Tony Parkes, 83.
I am 74 years old.
I have never contemplated doing
anything like this before. I want to
give it a try.
With his Silver
skydive team coming together, Gareth
turns his attention to the reason
why he is doing this challenge. The
skydive is to raise money for Sport
Relief and he wants to look at one
of the community projects for the
over 50s it helps to fund.
I am on
my way to the rainbow Centre in
Wrexham to seek myself the benefits
and positive impact this place has
on people's lives. I might be able
to recruit a few more Silver
Skydivers while I am there. Peter,
the driver, how are you doing?
Gareth's 's task is to join
69-year-old Pete who drives the
We take this out every day.
You go over the feel-good factor
because we tried to look after, care
for and give a good day out. It is
self rewarding. I remember seeing a
sign, loneliness kills, and it does.
The rainbow Centre serves an area
carrying more than 150 square miles.
-- covering. For its clients living
alone and with mobility issues, then
lifts to the centre are a lifeline.
Do you think that we have been
helping to look after other people
and that helps you to look after
It does. It is not rocket
science. If we care for ourselves
look after ourselves will be fitter
and better people for a lot longer.
As Gareth discovers, the rainbow
Centre offers all sorts of
activities to keep its clients
physically and mentally stimulated.
And, what activity does the former
rugby hard man zone in on? Hallow,
ladies. Knitting. Maybe it is an
opportunity to stitch up some more
Can you imagine being on
the aeroplane and opening up the
doors and saying, can wield jump out
now? I am not trying to put you off.
-- can we all jumped out now?
only live once.
Why is this table
not doing skydiving? We are too old.
My you letting your age dictate what
you can and cannot do?
As you get
older you see more fear in life.
Also you lose confidence in life.
It is. It is having that
confidence to go and do it.
isolation has a big impact on
confidence and it is here that the
Rainbow Centre support counts.
of people coming here are people who
cannot get out of a house. When they
come into here we want to give them
a chance to socialise. Some of the
people we work with might have
dementia. It is hard to have those
conversations you or I would have.
When we bring children in, everyone
is equal and we do singing, dancing
and crafts. It's about people not
feeling isolated and excluded.
would enjoy it here. The best job
Going to meet the people and
getting to know them, I realised
that this project with this
sentiment these people's lives would
be so lonely. This gives them a
purpose, a reason to get up in the
morning and gives them something to
look forward to. The money you
donate to Sport Relief helps
projects like this keep running. So,
please, please donate generously.
Meanwhile, Gareth has one last piece
of business to attend to. He has got
word that the manageress of the
cafe, Sheila, is ready to join his
What made you want
to take part?
I reached a point in
my life that I was 60, and nothing
really fazes me. It is like, get out
there and do it, life is too short.
We've lost so many of our friends in
the last couple of years who have
died way too soon, and they have not
enjoyed their lives. So it's like,
get out there and do it.
That is the
flip of what society says age is.
Grans always seemed old, they lost
their husbands quite young, at 60
they would get their pension, and
then it was like, slippers and sit
by the fire. But it has all changed,
I hope it has, it has for me. It's
like 60s, I could do these things.
Piece of cake! With his first
volunteer in the bag, Gareth spots
Sheila's husband enjoying his lunch.
Would you be up for it, then? Not
even a hesitation!
I hate heights,
but I will do it.
And Gareth wanders
into the garden.
It is something I
have always wanted to do.
He's in! And tears when he bagged
earlier, Peter. Now the Gareth has
got his team in place, it's time he
started facing his fear of heights.
And he's received a call to arms
from skydive guru Dilys offering an
intervention. She has a life mantra.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Is
this something Gareth can embrace?
want so much to clean the back
window, and can't get anyone to do
You want me to go up the ladder?
We will start with a small, a step
ladder, and it will prepare you for
skydiving. Right! I like what you
have done there.
have done there. You didn't need to
Winnall like that. Go straight, go
flat. I have got to show you how to
do this. How do you feel now? I
don't like it when I can't see the
floor, my legs do go a little bit.
But you are doing well, you are
keeping your balance well and you
are doing the window beautifully. I
will think about you, and your ears
will burn. Thank you so much, Alfie,
it's wonderful. Now I have got one
more job. This is as safe as
anything. You'll be all right.
Try and be logical about it. Just
use your head and no that it is
safe. You've got a good ladder,
nothing can go wrong. (BLEEP)
don't think I can go up any more.
Leave it there, you have achieved a
lot. But just remember what you did.
When I look at it from a ground
level, that is pathetic. Anyone who
can't go to the top of that and
clean that window is not tough at
all. So I think it's a bit of a
realisation that maybe I do need to
But before he can do
anything else about his acrophobia,
he needs to get his silver skydivers
together. The jump is four weeks
away, they all have to do a
pre-assessment at Swansea airport to
make sure everybody is fit enough to
take a 12,000 foot plunge. The
silver skydivers have gathered from
all four corners of Wales. The
youngest, Jane, is 60, the eldest,
Eric, is 87. And there are reasons
for wanting to do the jump are wide
and varied, aside from raising funds
for Sport Relief.
Are you not scared
I have never been up in a
See you don't know if you are
scared of heights?
I have been on a
And the sort who can say,
you carry on, it will be fine, I
will sit here and read a book. This
is the first time I have ever said,
I could do that.
What made you want
to do it?
I have Parkinson's, and it
is a downward slope, you are never
going to get better. The thing to do
is exercise, set yourself
challenging targets, I have
Parkinson's, but Parkinson's is not
going to have me.
What an amazing
thing to be doing.
illness has not progressed enough to
prevent in doing the job, but like
all of the silver skydivers, he has
had to get a doctor's certificate to
even get this far. And there are
still potential pitfalls.
still potential pitfalls. Do they
have the core strength to keep their
legs are near on landing, and are
they the right weight and body mass?
Sadly, not everyone clears this
I was lighter than that last
Sheila, the cafe manager at
the rainbow Centre, has a
I am too heavy,
and I won't get the weight off in
time because of other commitments.
It's not the end of the world, I
won't go home distraught.
bat on passes to our husband, Dean,
who is having doubts when it comes
time to sign.
It has got to be his
decision. Just man up!
It is about
conquering your fear.
It is a
You are scared as I
Fear is good.
the room is awash with nerves.
terrified. If Gareth is scared,
every body could be scared, surely!
But Gareth has brought his secret
weapon along to calm the fears. His
fearless skydive guru, Dilys.
everyone's attention? Thank you so
much for putting yourself forward to
jump out of an aeroplane. I'm not
going to lie, I'm afraid of doing
this. Who wouldn't be afraid? But
there is a woman who when I first
met her made me feel like actually
it will be a great experience, so I
am hugely honoured that doing it
with us will be Dilys! So, introduce
You will never regret it,
and it is OK to be scared, but don't
forget, scared misses excitement.
You only just have to and turn it to
excitement. I started when I was 54,
and nobody could be more scared than
I was. Why did it, and it blew my
life open, so I tell anybody who is
in a bit of a rut with the pressures
of life, do a skydive, and it will
transform you for ever.
Delist has settled the team, nerves
are under control and confidence is
returning. Time for the gang to see
the plane they will be jumping out
of in 28 days.
Where is first class?
We do get your drinks?
enough Gareth to gracefully adopt
the perfect parachute position.
the perfect parachute position.
we are about to exit the aircraft,
we will get you ready, so what we
ask you to do is to put your hands
on his knees, pushed down.
On top of
his legs? Someone is pleased to see
me! I'm scared doing it like this!
Well, that's it, we are done! Thank
you! I don't think I need to confess
my fears, because I couldn't really
hold them in.
You were great. That
is by far the scariest. When you are
in the situation you are doing it,
that rehearsal we were there and
staying there, and the crowd is a
few feet below, much harder than the
real thing, and I would have been
scared of had been there as well.
She is brilliant.
I can see the look
in your eye.
As always, Dilys put my
mind at ease, because she has this
way as the others do, putting things
into perspective. She made me feel
OK about it, but the biggest thing
is I feel like I am part of a really
good team. We haven't done anything
together, we haven't achieved
anything together yet, but we have a
really good bond that we are about
to do something really, really
So, four weeks until liftoff.
Four weeks the Gareth to come to
terms with his phobia of heights.
And four weeks in which to get to
know his silver skydivers little bit
better. Starting with Ken. For Ken,
intense physical exercise is central
to managing his Parkinson's. He's
invited Gareth to attend a work-out
from people with Parkinson's at an
independent physio programme he
attends a Newport.
party! How are you doing?
We go through to the gym, is
I do this twice a week. Torture
twice a week. It has all got to be
high-intensity, high impact, these
to 80% effort, that is what it is
all about. It helps build new
pathways through the brain, because
at the moment my brain is slowly
dying away, and all I want to do is
prolong the time it takes to die
Ken on the other participants
do intense work-out twice a week.
It's one way of managing their
condition, but it isn't a cure.
can you explain to me exactly what
It is a neurological
condition where the part of the
brain that controls movement, the
neurons die away. You don't know
you've got Parkinson's until about
70% of the neurons have died away
anyway, so I only left with 30%. It
starts with a tremor, shaking hands.
You get muscular rigidity and
slowness of movement. It can lead to
things like depression and dementia.
There currently is no cure.
Medication, but the best way
to stimulate your brain is through
Gareth a taste of the exercise
regime, Ken and his friends have a
special welcome laid on, their very
own version of a hacker.
ready? Aka, the Paka. One, two,
three, four, we're here at the door,
five, six, seven, eight, we are here
and we feel great. Float like a
butterfly, sting like a bee.
butterfly, sting like a bee.
that! I have faced some hakas in my
time, but that was class.
tasks, they are good as well.
acrobatics! Badminton, fencing,
I am 007.
Which was your
favourite James Bond?
And your favourite film?
And your favourite film?
And your favourite drink?
martini, shaken not stirred.
an understanding of the disease he
has, and understanding of his
limitations, but he is not going to
let it hold him down.
Parkinson's, it is achieving that
movement that is the problem,
because that is why we are slow,
Say you need to go fast? And
he is focusing on the things he can
do rather than the things he can't
do, which makes him an inspiring,
amazing human being. And to see how
hard he works just be able to get up
in the and get out of bed. You know,
people go training to do ironman
triathlons, and Ken has to come to
train to be able to walk potentially
to the toilet or to be able to pick
something up. Come on, come on! When
I moan about being afraid of
heights, when I see people like Ken,
it gives me inspiration to challenge
those fears and confront them, to
take them head-on and to get through
the other side, because unless you
confront your fears, then I suppose
you will never really know who you
are or what you are capable of.
Inspired by Ken's example, Gareth
decides it's high time he faced his
fears head-on, and so he has come to
the Peak District. He has signed
himself up a course called
overcoming your of heights. But
somewhere between the Severn Bridge
and Derby, Captain courageous
appears to have lost his bottle.
Not only am I afraid of heights I
don't want to overcome my fear of
heights. That means I have to face
it and that is scary in itself.
is Will. He is in charge of
The way this course
works we will incrementally take you
out of your comfort zone. We'll
start small and then as you get used
to it we will take you on to the
OK. Gareth is going
abseiling. A gentle 3-step approach,
amounting to block is no more than
an oversized molehill, not that
Gareth sees it that way.
processing information. In other
words, I am packing my pants.
else fails, Gareth can always call
on his inner Rainbow Centre.
on his inner Rainbow Centre.
is amazing. Today, if you have a
wobble, were new to imagine that
Dilys is there beside you, imagine
what she would be saying to you.
would say, feel the fear and do it
anyway, Alfie. Do it anyway.
Dilys, Gareth. In Dilys.
All the way
up. Pull yourself up. That is just
demonstrating how the whole rig
Come on, bed grills. Next
challenge. Oh, hallow, that is a bit
Stand up without touching
anything. Breeze. --
anything. Breeze. -- breathe. You
are doing really well. You are on a
public toilet and the door lock is
broken and both your legs are
stopping the door from opening. You
are all right bit. She is below you,
saying, come on, Alfie. Alfie, well
Every part of my body was
tensed. I thought I was going to cry
at 1.I was so scared. It is nothing.
I actually feel quite pathetic. It
is such a... I don't know. Such a
made the dog's dinner of step two,
how will Gareth manage his final
challenge, the 100 foot drop that is
the cliff face of doom?
When you are
ready. All I wanted to do is come
round this way a little bit. Feet
coming to the edge. Keep going. A
bit more. That is good. You are
doing really well.
doing really well.
Breathe. I cannot
stop moving. I can lock you off.
That is fine. Good lads, Alfie. You
are really there. Only a metre of
the floor. Look down. Stand up. That
was really good.
I have not overcome
my fear of heights but I have
overcome my anticipation of being
petrified before I face my fear of
It is not by moment you are
having a fear of heights then you
are fine. It is all part of a
journey and you up on that journey.
Gareth one, the sky, zero.
later, Gareth is heading to auroral
village in the Brecon Beacons. He is
going to see the oldest member of
the skydiving team. Three weeks ago,
back at the pre-assessment,
87-year-old Eric was unable to pass
the physical and was informed he
would not be able to do the skydive.
But, in this team, no one gets left
What was your first job?
was in the Fire Service mainly.
After National Service. Did you do
I didn't. 18
years ago Eric and his wife moved to
Wales from Yorkshire to be near his
daughter and grandchildren. Eric was
widowed two years ago.
2015 she passed away.
It seems like
last week. Really? I bet you miss
her every day. Yeah. How long would
you have been married then?
What was her
name? Eileen Margret. Beautiful
girl. We got married and never
regretted it. We were lucky. It was
A lifetime together. Does it
make you feel lonely at times?
lonely. Particularly in the winter
because you cannot go in the garden
and you do not see your neighbours
at all, you see. It is very lonely.
Eric's family visit as regularly as
possible but living alone days can
be long and solitary. For Eric like
many who lose a life partner,
isolation can be a daily burden.
is interesting to know why you
wanted to do a skydive. Is it
because you are lonely anyone to
show people that you can still do
It is an experience. It is
something adventurous. I know things
are sort of shutting down gradually
but I don't want to go too quickly.
No. What we want to do today is
mainly something that is as close to
the experience of skydiving...
you going to blow me up?
blowing upwards is kind of what
Gareth has in mind. He wants to take
Eric for an indoor -- indoor
You see that?
Yeah. I need to fix my teeth so I do
not lose them. Apart from that, it
Two hours later and the
dynamic duo are ready to fly.
the teeth stuck in all right
question what they are in.
push your hips down towards the
neck. When you relax it would be
easy. You do not want to go in there
and start to fight the wind. OK?
Did you enjoy that? Was it good?
Excellent. Eric is here for fun. But
Alfie is here as part of his
training. Without jumping out of a
plane, this is the closest thing you
find to freefalling. And it will be
a good guide to how much his
confidence has improved since
Cheers, man. Thank you. I never
thought I would enjoy that. Eric, in
87 years you have been on this
planet, did you ever think you would
be doing that?
No but never thought
that at all. I thought I might be
doing it there but not... Skydiving
is a thing that you should not miss
if you have got the opportunity to
With Eric unable to do the skydive,
there is one other team member
Gareth is concerned might not make
it, Chris. At the pre-assessment he
was given a set of exercises to
strengthen his legs. Gareth has been
to his hometown of Brecon to check
on his progress and to find out what
is driving him to get fit enough to
join the challenge.
Who is this?
That is my dad. Chris was born 64
years ago in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia,
as it was then.
I have five sisters
and seven Brothers.
The family. One
of 13 children, Chris was always
very bright but was discriminated
against because of the colour of his
I love education. Growing up
in Rhodesia, being black, you are
not given a chance because it was
taken from you. You were a failure
before you started. Do you feel that
is a burning thing inside you?
knew that. I knew I could do more.
Chris made his way to Britain in the
1970s where he was finally able to
realise his academic ambitions.
was taken to Shropshire.
earned a degree in psychology, Chris
spent his working life in the NHS
specialising in clinical trauma and
rising to become head of royal
are what you create.
Nice. Nice. I
will use that line.
That is a
brilliant line. You create your own
opportunities in your own happiness.
You create your own self-esteem and
you know what you are capable of
doing. For me, nothing phases me.
Nothing is to be feared. It is only
to be understood.
And then, moving
on, I suppose, doing a skydive,
after all the challenges he faced,
is it a big deal?
No. No, it is not.
Any challenges, any obstructions,
any blockages, make us stronger
people, determined people.
Makes you free. I think I love you.
Honestly, I am honoured to have sat
here and spoken to you. From that,
shall we move onto making sure that
you can do the skydive? The last
time we were here, physically we
were worried about you being able to
lift your leg.
Gareth has arranged a
Pilates class for Chris. There are
focused way to work on his muscles.
-- a focused way.
Hold it on the in
I think Chris has blown my
mind he is such an amazing person.
Tried to bring one leg down and keep
the other up.
He is not content with
just doing it he wants to master it.
Look at him! He is advanced already.
Two weeks ago he could not lift his
leg off the floor and now he is like
I have always wanted a
The parachute jump is just three
days away and the Silver Skydivers
are out raising funds for Sport
Relief. In a final attempt to lay
waste to his acrophobia, Captain
Alfie has agreed to one last stand.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. With
the help of Cardiff Central Station
51, he will attempt to climb a
fireman's ladder, almost three times
the height of the cliff he abseil in
Right. I am not OK but I
am going to do it. I know I don't
have to do it but I am going to do
As part of his height awareness
training, Alfie has had anxiety
counselling. How well has it worked?
He is about to find out.
Alfie, get up there! If you don't,
we are not doing the skydive, we are
on strike! , and, Alfie! Go on,
Alfie! I can't believe this, well
done, my boy. Go, go, go!
How much further?
You're doing brilliant, Alfie, keep
one step at a
time, keep concentrating.
at a time, you are almost there now.
How is that? Are you enjoying that?
You're going to have to
take a step over.
How do I get over
It's wobbling! Take your
Give us a wave, Alfie!
I need to try
and relax. I can't think about
Remember those techniques
you learned in Derby. Have a little
breather, because we are going to
take you up higher now. This goes up
a lot higher. We're going to go and
have a look and see how you feel,
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God!
We are about four
fifths of the way up now.
high, isn't it? Rather him than me.
Oh, my God, oh, my God.
Do you want
to go on to there?
Is it wobbly out
It is exactly the same. Take
And of course, what goes up
must climb back down. In delicious!
Have a think about this.
Have a think about this. I'm only
joking, there is no way we would let
you do this.
There is only a few
of us do this, there is no chance
you would be doing that.
then. We can go down now.
I think he
has really done something amazing.
If he can do that, we can do
Dilys, that was so scary.
When you said turn fear into
excitement, I nearly turned it into
Mission accomplished, leaving one
last challenge. The skydive itself.
And after what Gareth's just
achieve, it will be like falling off
a log. Albeit a 12,000 feet tall
Jump day. 16 senior citizens are
hoping to become Silver skydivers.
They are feeling fearless,
I was all right
until I reach the airport. Now I am
feeling, oh, my God.
We have two parachutes, the main
one, the reserve one. The main one,
we plan on using. I have done 3000
skydive is, and only once it hasn't
worked. What is the worst that can
I have never
been in a plane, so I don't know
what I will feel like, the runway,
going up, I have never experienced
And how is Captain Courageous?
This was all started by me, so I
should be the one on this day of all
days to be the main motivator, but
at the back of my mind is this huge
niggling fear that I really don't
want to do it, but I want to
persuade everyone else, because I
really want them to have this bucket
list moment where they say, I did
it, and I enjoyed it, and thank you
Alfie forgiving me the chance. So I
am trying to be the positive one and
keep everybody motivated, but it's
extremely difficult when you know
deep down you are frightened.
Silver skydivers are expecting Alfie
to deliver the team talk of his
life. But he needs a pep talk of his
own from his skydive Guru Dilys.
Turn it upside down. The adrenaline,
which is scared and is, turn it the
other way and it is excitement. You
are bursting with excitement. It is
I know. The one thing
that has got me out of bed this
money to come here is the fact that
you said once you are out on flying,
it will be one of the most wonderful
experiences ever. And that is the
one thing that got me here. As much
as I am afraid of doing this, there
is probably nowhere else in the
world I would rather be than here.
Not because we are skydiving, but
because I just feel like I am with a
group of people who are doing
something really special, and the
whole underline of this is to
understand what senior citizens are
capable of doing. And if anybody has
ever shown that message, it has been
in the last couple of weeks and when
I have been around to see some of
you individually, and more
importantly what collectively we are
all going to do today, it is just
such a great message that makes you
and this room full of heroes and
legends. So thank you from me, enjoy
it, enjoy it, Glenn! Because if
there is one person I have met on
this whole journey who has taught me
that you feel the fear and do it
anyway, it is Dilys, so I put all my
faith in what she has said, and so
far everything she has said has come
true, so I'm sure in a couple of
hours when we have finished, we will
all be sitting here thinking, why
were we so afraid of the first
You can do it and you will
Let's get out there!
It is like a Pringles tube with
It is the moment of truth
Gareth Thomas and his Silver
skydivers. They will be jumping in
small groups across five flights,
with Gareth and Dilys flying last.
Flight number one is Tony, 83.
Gaynor, 64, and billing, 62 and
As they say, it just got real. God.
Everyone will be exiting the plane
at 12,000 feet above the stunning
Swansea skyline. Starting with
Then Tony. Then Glyn.
Oh, yes! Oh, good God! I can't
believe I have done that.
How was that?
It was great!
Never again! It was
And suddenly, it's raining
Silver skydivers. Val, 77, Jane, 61,
And then Colin, the man who at 71
has never been in a plane, let alone
jumped out of it.
God, that was wonderful.
God, that was wonderful.
And Ken, a
man whose fortitude and zest for
life in spite of Parkinson's has
inspired Gareth so much.
Thumbs up for the camera!
joining Ken's flight are Malcolm,
69, Paul, 68, piloting his own
maiden flight. And Evan, 74, pleased
as punch to be up there.
as punch to be up there.
That was great.
That was great.
Mate, how was it?
Fantastic. Absolutely out of this
Absolutely out of this world!
Spencer, 65, has hitched a ride with
Allen, 60. And Chris is having a
quick check to see of his Pilates
lessons are paying off.
Chris, how was that?
Leaving one last planeload, and a
doubting Thomas called Gareth.
Alfie, we are nearly there. This is
the darkest moment before the dawn.
You are going to do it, and it's
going to be wonderful.
thinking about now, I'm thinking not
about me but about everyone else who
has done it and why I have to do it,
and that's it. That's it. If I
enjoyed, I enjoyed, if I don't, I
don't, but one way or the other...
This is me facing probably one of
the biggest fears I have ever had in
my life, and if I overcome it, then
I will be a very proud man.
the Rainbow Centre minibus driver is
first out. Next comes Dilys on John
to number 1140.
And last but by no
means least comes Captain
Courageous. Keeping his word and
hopefully his dignity, is doing what
he always swore to do, jump out with
his team is Silver skydivers from
12,000 feet. And down on the ground
or the two people he wanted to
inspire most to embrace adventure in
their old age.
their old age. His mum and his dad.
Oh! What I do with my legs?
Are you doing it
Oh, my God.
Are you OK?
Congratulations. You are the
bravest, most wonderful man.
Wonderful. You have done it! That is
amazing, Alfie. I do so admire you.
I genuinely did not want to do that.
That was the scariest thing I have
ever done in my entire life. And I
reckon maybe tomorrow or the day
after or the day after... But for
the rest of my life, I can always
look back and so had a great
experience with a great group of
people, a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to do it, so as much as
I absolutely hated every minute of
it, I wouldn't change it for the
world. Everybody, I would just like
to raise a toast the Gareth Thomas
of the Silver skydivers, on a life
affirming life changing moment.
When I first met Dilys, she said to
me, we have to make every day of our
life count. I am here today with a
group of people that have shown me
she was right. They made me do
something I couldn't imagine doing,
and they only did it because of the
help of the strength that they all
gave me, but the jump was all about
raising money to help others who
don't have that strength that
support. Money raised through Sport
Relief helps fund projects to
support people whether they are five
or 105. But it's down to your
generosity to make this happen, so
please get on it and donate.
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.