*Please note: Images and video of the historic day will be coming soon, they’re currently being developed by our video editor
If any local residents wondered on Saturday what that distant object streaking over their heads was, they would have gotten a surprising answer. Far from being a bird or a plane, it was little Sam Stoppard, who over the weekend became one of the UK’s youngest record holders.
UPDATE: Happy April Fool’s day! The legal age is in fact 16 years of age to take part in a tandem skydive so to any 3year olds looking for an adrenaline rush, we are very sorry, you will have to wait your turn. Hope you enjoyed our April Fool’s!
As a special treat for her son’s 3rd birthday, Sam’s mum Amy arranged his death-defying stunt with the GoSkydive team only a week in advance.
“We wanted to do something memorable,” she told a small group of reporters during a quick break from training, “last year we went to a dinosaur museum, and the year before that we just had a quiet celebration with friends. We decided this year we’d show Sam what he really means to us.”
The two took part in a rare triple-tandem skydive – a first for the UK and for the GoSkydive team as well! Luckily, instructors have plenty of experience catering to customers of a large build, so the extra weight wasn’t a problem.
“Technically, it was very simple,” says instructor Matt Horton, “just last week we had a whole party of 18st tourists in. Compared to them, Sam was nothing!”
The two arrived first thing in the morning for an extended training session overseen by senior instructors. Although things started well, there was a little bit of a wobble after half an hour, when Sam became visibly distressed after being strapped in. Luckily, mum Amy was on hand with his favourite dummy to calm things down.
By ten o’clock, the two were ready to go. The jump was timed to coincide exactly with the moment of Sam’s birth at 10:23am. The plan had been for little Sam to turn precisely three during in freefall, but unfortunately some low-level cloud cover meant the jump had to be delayed by ten minutes.
“I think Amy was a little gutted,” Sam’s Dad admitted afterwards, “but Sam didn’t seem to mind. I think he was just enjoying being up in a plane for the first time!”
When a gap finally appeared, Amy and Sam stepped out of the plane strapped to instructor Matt. The trio plunged 10,000ft in a matter of seconds, with Matt executing a couple of barrel rolls to impress reporters on the ground. Although such stunts can be potentially dangerous, both Amy and Sam had been thoroughly briefed during training and responded to his innovations with enthusiasm.
By the time Sam and Amy landed at quarter to 11, a sizeable crowd had gathered to greet the world’s youngest skydiver.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” a red-faced Amy gushed, “all those people applauding as you come down. Someone said there was even a guy from BBC local watching! How great is that?”
At exactly three years old, Sam is now officially the world’s youngest skydiver by 18 months. But he won’t be stopping there!
“This was so much better than the dinosaurs!” grinned Dad when Sam was safely back on Earth, “normally we’re you’re average, stay at home family, but this has changed everything. Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll enter the Paris-Dakar rally!”
Instructor Matt was equally hyped: “At first I had some reservations, but when I saw Sam’s eyes light up before we jumped, all that worry just sort of melted away. If any kid out there fancies beating Sam’s record, I want them to give me a call!”
Congratulations Sam and GoSkydive on your new world records!