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Lowestoft headteacher takes the plunge

PUBLISHED: 10:09 01 October 2010

Mark Prentice from Woods Loke PS in Lowestoft

Mark Prentice from Woods Loke PS in Lowestoft

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"TERRIFYING yet exhilarating!"

That was the reaction of a Lowestoft headteacher after he took the plunge for a worthy cause.

With his feet firmly on the ground, Woods Loke Primary School’s headteacher Mark Prentice was back at his desk this week after joining forces with a group of other intrepid fundraisers who successfully completed a sponsored parachute jump.

Determined to help raise £50,000 over the next three years for a new larger hall at the school in Butley Drive, Mr Prentice and nine others took the plunge on September 18 at Ellough Airfield in Beccles.

And with more than £1,000 raised so far – and more still to come – it has boosted the £3,000 that has already been collected under the school’s ‘Re-Building our Future!’ banner.

Reflecting on his jump, Mr Prentice admitted to feeling a touch of trepidation before the 13,000ft free-fall.

“It was a perfect day, sunshine and clear blue skies – and the view was fantastic,” he said. “The plane reached 13,000ft and on one side you could see all of the sea and coastline from Gorleston down to Sizewell. The sand was golden in the sun and the sea glistening – it was a fantastic view.

“As the door of the plane went up down below on the other side you could see miles of green and brown countryside and lakes, rivers like patchwork quilts and a cluster of buildings in Beccles and Lowestoft.

“I was shuffled forward I looked down at the view below, and thought ‘Oh my word I am just going to drop out of the plane, down below my tummy was churning!’” he revealed.

With the calming reasurrance of his instructor, Mr Prentice jumped out and began “falling at about 140mph.”

He added: “I was screaming shouting, waving at the cameraman who jumped alongside me. I was just enjoying the freefall. It felt like you were in a gush wind suspended in the air. Truly amazing!!”

After a gentle landing, he was able to reflect on his efforts: “It was an amazing sensation and feeling, a sense of achievement, and pride. I was really pleased to have had this experience.”

This week Mr Prentice praised Toni Parker, the school governor, for organising the event and the nine others who represented the school.

He was also grateful to all the parents and staff who cheered the group on, and UK parachuting at Ellough Airfield for their “fantastic professionalism”.

“We are still collecting in sponsor money from this event, but we have raised over a £1,000 so far, adding to our previous £3,000,” he said.

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