Monday, 3 October 2011

Activist Lorraine Bennett Jumps For Justice!

On Saturday Lorraine Bennett, a supporter of the campaigns against suspicious deaths in custody, overcame her fears and jumped out of a plane in order to raise public awareness and funds for the Campaign For Justice For Kingsley Burrell, Campaign For Justice For Demetre Fraser and Campaign For Justice For Smiley Culture.

On behalf of these campaigns I would like to say a massive thank you to Lorraine and I urge you to make a donation, however small, in recognition of Lorraine's bravery and to help these campaigns continue their good work.
JUMP FOR JUSTICE DONATION PAGE:!/pages/Jump-For-Justice/249824551698331

Lee Jasper 

Here is Lorraine's account of her experience:

'Thought you'd all like to hear about my experience first hand-I would've loved to have gotten a DVD but the price was extortionate so hopefully this will give you an idea of how it was.
Walking out to the airfield with my instructor-Ricky-& two (much) younger girls and their instructors plus the cameraman I was nervous but strangely thought I'd be OK based on the fact everyone else was so calm! My first view of the plane made my heart drop-I'm not scared of flying despite being scared of flights-I've flown to JA & USA but THIS plane was not only tiny but they were in the middle of refuelling-through the wings! Whilst waiting the instrustors joked & I can only describe their humour as 'skydive junkie humour' -it didn't go very far in keeping me relaxed. Once the plane was refuelled we boarded-& when I say boarded I mean we squashed into the plane -each of us sat between our respective instructors legs with the camera guy sat between my legs-the 'skydive' humour continued as we taxi'd over the grass (yup grass-no runway-just grass!!) -they asked us to all cross our fingers as we soared into the air. It was a beautiful day yet this was the point at which I realised what was about to happen & I began to shake-not a little bit-my whole body began to shake uncontrollably. I thought I was hiding it well until all 3 instructors & the camera guy focused all their attention on me-as the plane climbed into the sky I felt every turn,drop & noise-covering my face with my hands I simply began to pray-this was NOTHING like being on a 747 & if I'm honest I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do what I set out to do! As we reached 5,000 feet-the sweats kicked in-there was still another 5,000 feet to climb & as far as I was concerned we were far too high already. The instructors continued to talk to me-their own students were SO calm (I put this down to youth -I remeber believing I was THAT invincible too!! Lol)...when we were almost at 10,000 feet I was told to sit on my instructors knee (cue another round of rather rude skydiver humour!)-as I did the plane tipped to one side-out of one window I could see the whole of Swindon laid out in front of me out of the other nothing but clouds & sky -for a moment I was stunned -it WAS beautiful & I remebered why I was doing this-Smiley,Kingsley & Demetre.That's not to say the fear dissapated but I knew I could do it. Eventually the 2min call came to put on our goggles & hats-I covered my face again (although why I kept doing this is still unclear to me-it didn't help! :) )- those 2 mins flew by-Ricky was at this point talking me through the moves & I tried really hard to listen but I'm not sure I took in anything he was saying! As the pilot called ''door'' I felt sick-the cameraman slid the door open & as the air rushed in the thought that I was baout to drop into nothing overtook everything else-I have two beautiful children & the thought that something might happen to me was something I had to push from my mind. As the first tandem shuffled to the door I began to take huge breaths & the level of shaking increased -I genuinely thought my heart would give out! Watching the first couple exit the plane was enough,I turned to Ricky & said ''I can't do this'' but he was already shuffling me toward the door-it was too late! I closed my eyes & felt my legs dangling in midair-remembering what I'd been told about hooking them under the plane I did it & thought again of Smiley,Demetre & Kingsley as I felt Ricky push away from the plane.Dropping into midair at a speed of 120mph was not the exhilarating ride that people make it out to be-it's the same feeling you get on a rollercoaster except it goes on & on & on!! I remember the wind in my face & Ricky tapping me to put my hands out-it was the last thing I wanted to do but I did it-it seemed to go on forever but in actual fact was only for 5,000ft...when I felt him tap me again I held my straps -so hard that when I landed I had the indentations of them in my hands & felt him release the parachute-except I didn't! I was convinced he'd unhooked me from him & I was about to fall even though we were quite obviously going back up! As we soared Ricky began to talk to me, telling me to open my eyes-I opened them-realised how high up we were & started to cry-& pray.I worked out I said ''oh God'' once for every foot we fell! :)  The descent didn't get any better,I sparodically opened my eyes when I felt I could but even when we were a mile up the fear was too much & I couldn't relax the way I should have. As we came in to land the relief was overwhelming & as Gary unhooked me I burst into tears-once I'd gotten it out of my system I got to my feet & went over to get a hug from Talia. I have never been so glad for a hug in my life! Talking to all the instructors afterwards they told me they didn't think I was going to do it!(They weren't the only one's)
So whilst I'm proud I did it I think calling me brave is an overstatement!...brave would have been to do it without the crying or to have done it ,opened my eyes & enjoyed the ride but that definitely wasn't me!
It was an experience I'll never forget but even writing about it makes my palms sweat & thinking about the initial drop makes me shrudder! I hope that somehow I've made someone,somewhere think a little more about deaths in custody & the lives of Smiley,Kingsley & Demetre,how they were lost for nothing & about the families that have been left behind-if I've done any of that it was all worth it.'



Left to Right: Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Smiley Culture

Please  support the UFFC 
Annual Remembrance Procession Against Deaths in Custody
29 October · 12:30 - 15:30