Air Ambulance paramedic to do skydive for three charities

AN air ambulance paramedic is facing a very different kind of '˜flying' this weekend when he leaps out of an aircraft at 10,000ft.

Craig McDonald. Picture: Contributed
Craig McDonald. Picture: Contributed

Craig McDonald, 45, a paramedic with Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), is facing his fears in order to skydive and raise funds for three causes close to his heart.

Along with two fellow fundraisers, Craig is making the sponsored jump in aid of SCAA, Scotland’s only charity funded air ambulance, Hope For Justice, which rescues and restores victims of people trafficking, and Compassion, a child sponsorship charity helping youngsters in some of the most deprived areas of the world.

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Craig, who will be doing the jump on Saturday, said: “People think that because I’m an air ambulance paramedic I must be confident doing a skydive – but I’m just not that brave. In fact, I’m terrified.

“The main difference is that when I’m flying with SCAA the helicopter always lands down gently and delivers me safely back to earth – I’m never expected to leap out and make my own way down at 120 miles per hour.”

Craig has been a paramedic with SCAA for three years but is also a part-time Scottish Regional Development Manager with Hope For Justice and a long-term child sponsor with Compassion.

He added: “I see first hand the benefits all three charities bring to their specific causes, and funding is crucial to each of them.

“I witness people willing to put themselves through physical and mental challenges for SCAA constantly and I thought it was time I stepped up to the mark.”

Craig, who joined the Scottish Ambulance Service in 1993, will make his tandem skydive in his SCAA flight suit on Saturday at Errol Airfield, freefalling from a light aircraft for the first 5,000ft before the parachute opens for his final descent.

“I’m not an adrenaline junkie or a thrill-seeker. I will be screaming like a baby when we throw ourselves out of the aircraft. And the first thing I’ll do when we touch down is drop to my knees and kiss the ground.

“The only thing that is motivating me is the constant need of the three charities and the good that my crazy gesture might bring. I won’t let my fear stop me.

“Skydiving was never on my wish list but I’m determined to make that leap of faith and hope for the best. Who knows – I might even enjoy it.”

Married father of four, Craig intends to celebrate his safe return to earth with a fundraising barbecue at his home at Auchterhouse, near Dundee, the following day.