Well, that was interesting! Just when we thought we would all be kicking our heels until Christmas, someone goes and says it’s OK to play again. So we did – Oh frabjous joy!

We’ve had lots of fun and games getting our heads around the COVID-19 protocols and procedures – and even more fun making sure we follow them! Going from a normal skydiving dropzone to a COVID-19 safe one was quite a mind mess, but we got there and operations started again. A fair bit of currency jumping was needed to bring everyone back up to speed and several club members had a busy time acting as bags for the TIs but everyone got sorted and we restarted the season. Slowly and surely, very carefully, we got the hang of it and very quickly found ourselves having a ball again. Spare a thought for poor Vicky though – the café is up and running, but clearly being a takeaway only service, no one is sitting in to eat, so she’s slaving away in the back and only seeing people as they briefly pass – still doing wonderful food and extraordinary cakes though!

Oddly enough, the manifest for lift one on the first day back included one Julie Murray, who eagle eyed readers will remember was the last person out of the Airvan before lockdown! Well done Julie, last and first – neat trick.

Amongst our other joys in getting back up and running was to welcome Jenny Bouquet and Darryl Gibson properly into the Tilly team. Both fitted in very quickly, having an appropriate sense of humour for the funny farm. Having a combination of TI, CSI, AFFI, FS Coach and Packer between them is really handy and that’s just the stuff we know about so far.

Because we were pacing the tandems very steadily, we had plenty of opportunities to put club loads up (B Licence only on the first week, A Licence joining us on the second week) and three very keen FS students made the most of it. Poor Jenny thought she was in for a quiet time but soon found she was being kept pretty busy. This was helped rather a lot on our second Friday of operation when we had five FS Coaches on site when Jenny was joined by Caroline, Ellie, Rich and the ever present Handsome Dan. Lots of progression including the aforementioned Julie Murray getting her FS1, she really is having a fun time.
If you fancy coming out to play there is a simple online document checker and slot booking system to complete before you come – and don’t forget to renew your British Skydiving membership and make sure your reserve is in date or has a date extension first as there is no kit hire at present.

The poor category students are champing at the bit and still only able to do virtual refreshers online, but we’re keeping people engaged until the time when we can get hands-on again, which we hope will be very soon.

Highlight of our second weekend though must go to Steve ‘Scoop’ Cooper who celebrated 30 years in the sport by repeating his first jump. Yes, the lad did a static line jump and was dispatched by someone he first dispatched 10 years ago who went on to become a CSI, Handsome Dan to the fore again. The joy on Scoop’s face was delightful and we were all impressed he could still do the business on the rope, having trained so many of us, including Dan who felt very honoured to be the one to dispatch Scoop.

All in all, it’s been a funny old year so far, but we’re back doing what we love and enjoy – hoorah!

A word from the management: thank you all to our Instructors, staff, students and club members who have supported Buzz and Kat so much during these dark, scary times. You are what makes Tilly the best!

Gary Windon

ACHIEVEMENTS: FS1 Julie Murray 1 HOUR IN FREEFALL Suzie Whitehurst

Find out more about Tilstock: https://www.skydivetilstock.co.uk/

Photo: Scoop in the pen before his static line jump by Gary Windon