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British ambassador skydives to raise funds for charities.

Dubai The British Ambassador to the UAE took a giant leap for charity yesterday when he took part in a skydive over Dubai with the Red Devils parachute display team.

"I've never done anything like this before," Ambassador Dominic Jermey told Gulf News at Skydive Dubai before his jump.

"I'm doing it for two reasons. To raise the profile of the Red Devils that are training in the UAE for the first time and raise the profile of three charities," he said.

The free-fall parachute tandem jump that Jermey did with the team, helped raise approximately Dh20,000 for three charities: Help 4 Heroes, a British military charity; DOSC, Sailability that helps disabled sailors in Dubai; and St Luke's Hospice in the UK.

Three staff members staff from the British Embassy in Dubai and two from the Abu Dhabi Embassy jumped as part of the fund-raising initiative.

Public displays

The Red Devils is the official parachute display team of the Parachute Regiment (Paras) and the British Army, and they carry out more than 100 public displays a year.

The team comprises 20 serving soldiers from the Regiment's three full-time battalions EoAC" the 1, 2 and 3 Para.

Each member of the display team has served a minimum of three years in a Parachute Regiment battalion and has been on at least one operational tour of duty.

Major Paul Blair, Commanding Officer of the Red Devils, started skydiving for fun, and has been part of the team for the past two years.

"Because the weather in the UK is pretty bad during the winter, we can't do any jumping," Major Blair said, adding that the team has done 70 to 80 jumps since they arrived in Dubai two weeks ago.

A 15-minute plane ride takes jumpers 4,000 metres over Dubai's coastline. According to Major Blair, the temperature drops by one degree every thousand feet. After one minute's free fall, parachutes open at 5,000 feet and jumpers have a five-minute canopy ride down to the ground.

"What a rush!," Jermey told Gulf News when he landed, "I'm feeling on top of the world, it was a great experience." Colour Sergeant Jay Webster was the Red Devils team member that the ambassador did the tandem jump with.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a great way to raise money for charity," Webster said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 22, 2011
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