Divers jump for joy for anniversary
Christine Sparrow and Mike Williamson of Skydive Jurien Bay prepare for the anniversary jump. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Skydivers will gather in Alfred Cove today to mark the 50th anniversary of the first skydives in WA.

Jurien Skydive co-owner Christine Sparrow urged people to come to learn more about the profound and life-changing joy of leaping from a plane high in the sky.

“It’s a big celebration in Tompkins Park, to encourage the public to come and have a look at some jumps, some of the old round parachutes in the 1960s, and some demonstrations, bring some binoculars, there will be all sorts of formations,” she said.

Ms Sparrow said the first skydive in WA was by three men — Bill Davenport, Bob Atkinson and Percy Robert, near Kalgoorlie in July 1962.

The men had trained in South Australia and came back to WA to make the first proper skydive in the State.

Ms Sparrow said jumping from a plane for the first time 11 years ago had changed her life.

“I lost a partner in a boating accident 12 years ago, and a skydive a year later really healed me,” she said.

“For the first time I felt happy, it was like skydiving had helped push a reset button.

“It made me want to live again, I hadn’t wanted to live for a year.”

Skydiving had helped introduce her to partner Peter Lonnon, and they had set up their skydiving business in Jurien Bay.

But she had also met a group of special people through the skydiving world.

“Once you’ve been in freefall with someone, you have a special bond,” she said.

Ms Sparrow said skydiving was an experience like no other, and many said it was like floating on a giant air cushion, rather than “falling”.

“You just can’t describe it, you freefall for about 60 seconds and then you parachute down for about five to seven minutes,” she said.

“But afterwards there is a high that you feel for a long time.”

Celebrations start at 9am.

The West Australian

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