Caption: Sally Cowards takes part in her tandem skydive
£900 for each of the MGP Supporters Club, the Southern 100 Helicopter Fund and the TT Riders’ Fund was handed over to the three charities during the 2015 Manx Grand Prix by Sally and Jordan Coward, mother and sister of racer Jamie Coward.
The money was raised from their tandem skydives at the Black Knights parachute centre near Lancaster earlier this summer, and topped up by collection buckets at all the race meetings where Jamie has competed – particularly the Scarborough Auto 66 meetings.
Sally says that choosing the three charities was easy. “As a regular competitor in the Isle of Man, Jamie wanted to help those riders who, for one reason or another, have had to use the helicopter at some point and all three charities depend on fundraising efforts like ours to provide this service.
Sally Coward (left) and daughter Jordan present a cheque for £900 to Wally Kneale of the MGP Supporters Club
They really wanted to do their skydives on the Island, but this wasn’t possible this year so they chose the nearest option – and on a clear day, you can actually see the Isle of Man from 10,000 feet above the Black Knights centre. “The feeling of jumping out of the plane was unreal. It’s hard to describe the sound of the wind during the freefall, followed by an uncanny silence,”
says Sally, “and the views were amazing. It was over way too quick and we’d both definitely do it again!”
And this isn’t the end of the Coward women’s fundraising efforts. Both Sally and Jordan have taken part in Total Warrior 10k endurance events and next year would like to enter a team into the Isle of Man’s own Toughmann challenge, which takes place in early August.
“Planning for this is in its early stages, but we’d like to get at least one team of riders’ girlfriends, mums, sisters, even daughters together to help us raise even more money for these essential charities,” says Sally. “The Isle of Man has a special place in the hearts of all motor cycle racers and, as their families, we have grown to love our visits here. It’s not just the races, it’s the people and how welcome we’re made to feel – this is our opportunity to put something back, and have fun doing it!”