Glaswegian Imran Akhtar was finally for the high jump last weekend.
The father of three did his first ever sponsored skydive from Strathallan airfield in Perthshire in Perthshire to raise funds for a ‘talking’ audio-book for blind and partially sighted children.
Imran knows what it’s like to lose sight himself. He has experienced retinal detachments in both eyes as well as an underlying glaucoma condition and a retinal tear in his right eye obstructing his central vision.
“Before losing my sight, I was a post office manager for six years,” he says. “I was at work one day and the vision in my eye went, just like that.
“Every day in Scotland, around ten people begin to lose their sight. But at present the charity, RNIB Scotland can only support one in three people who need its help most, and is very dependent on support from the public. They helped me to adjust to sight loss, so I’m very pleased to be able to help them to help others.”
Originally, Imran’s skydive was scheduled for April 29th. “Unfortunately due to the weather conditions, and after waiting nine nerve-wracking hours, I wasn’t able to do it then,” he says. “So I had another four weeks to contemplate stepping out of the plane from on high!”
So what was the jump like? “Awesome!” enthuses Imran.
“After several tense hours of again waiting and hoping, the storm clouds began to gather and I thought the chances of me doing my skydive were slipping away. Then my name was called over the tannoy and my heart jumped into my mouth. I was kitted up and away we went.
“I’m not going to lie, it was awesome! The freefall from 9,000 feet was the best bit. I was actually hoping the parachute wouldn’t open up so quickly so I could enjoy it a bit longer.
“I landed safely on the ground with a big grin on my face, asking the instructor if I could go up again. It’s an experience I will never forget and I’m glad I got to do it whilst helping RNIB at the same time.
“I’m well on my way to reaching my target of £2,500 to publish a talking book.”
Readers can help Imran and the RNIB by donating at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ImranAkhtarskydive.