It was an arresting sight. Sixteen gardai jumped out of aeroplanes in Clonbullogue last month, and managed to raise 12,000 euros in the process for Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.
With the help of the Irish Parachute Club, the tandem jumps took place at 12,000 feet high, making it a neat one foot per euro raised.
They were led by Port’s Garda Gavin Tracy who arranged the fundraising event for the hospital after his little daughter Lauren successfully underwent heart surgery there.
Most of the gardaí are based around Laois, while also jumping were Lauren’s grandad Bob Tracy (85) and uncle Graham.
It was a change for Gavin, who normally jumps out of boats, as he is a keen shipwreck diver.
“It was terrifying but brilliant. That moment when you’re about to leave the plane, it’s indescribable,” he said. He was delighted with the support he received from Portarlington people who had donated money into the garda station over the past few months.
“We got phenomenal support. The local people and businesses were just great, we raised a handsome figure,” he says.
Lauren will be celebrating her third birthday tomorrow (Thursday). She will go for six monthly checkups for the rest of her life, but is a different child since her pacemaker was fitted.
“She’s full of energy, she even went to Disney on her holidays this year,” said her proud dad, who enjoyed his jump so much he is planning another one, this time for the Make a Wish foundation, in the coming weeks.