Disaster relief

Cornwall Rotarian marking 80th birthday with 15,000ft skydive

Cornwall Rotarian marking 80th birthday with 15,000ft skydive

A former RAF pilot is doing the skydive to raise money for international disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

David Earl, a former RAF pilot and member of the Rotary Club of St Austell, Cornwall, is celebrating his 80th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane in order to raise money for Shelterbox, Rotary’s international project partners in disaster relief.

David is a volunteer for Shelterbox and Cornwall Air Ambulance and will be heading over to Perranporth Airfield, where he previously worked as a flying instructor, to complete a tandem skydive to raise money for the two charities.

He says: “After 63 years flying as a pilot and now entering my ninth decade, it strikes me that it is high time I let others take the strain while I just admire the scenery.

“Clearly the scale of ShelterBox’s activities demands very significant investment, and therefore fundraising and making people aware of the ever-increasing need of suffering people all over the world is critical to its continued success.  My aim is to do what I can to help.”

ShelterBox was founded by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in 2000 and has now supported more than 2.5 million people across 98 countries.

ShelterBox is currently working in countries such as Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Mozambique.

The charity specialises in emergency shelter aid and supports people who have had to leave their homes, or had them damaged or destroyed, because of extreme weather events or conflict.

David added: “Some years ago, I joined Rotary and became aware of ShelterBox.

“It impressed me that here was a Cornish charity start-up, which had become so significant globally.”

Community Fundraising Officer for ShelterBox, Louisa Arnold, said: “It’s not the first daring fundraising challenge David has completed to raise money for charities close to his heart.

“David has a great sense of adventure and having completed a charity wing walk a few years ago, he’s now all set to mark his 80th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane.

“David is a wonderful volunteer and it’s people like him who help raise awareness and fund our much-needed work across the world.

“Every year more than 100 million people have to leave behind their homes because of conflict or disaster. We want to change that. By providing emergency shelter and other essential items, we give people a starting point.”