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Rory speaks of heights fear ahead of charity skydive

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Leicester Tigers legend and former RAF pilot Rory Underwood MBE has spoken of his fear of heights as he prepares for a skydive to help raise money for Armed Services veterans.

Underwood enjoyed an 18 year career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, clocking up more than 3,000 flying hours in Tornados, Canberras, Hawks and Dominoes, as well as becoming England’s record try-scorer in 85 Tests for his country and spending 14 years with the Tigers.
Now a Tigers director, Underwood is helping Queen Alexandra Hospital Home reach their fundraising target by taking part in a skydive this Friday – despite admitted to a fear of heights.
Underwood is making his final preparations for his part in setting a new world record of tandem jumps over three days this weekend to commemorate the World War One centenary.
He said: “I am scared of heights from the very top of a ladder but it’s more a fear of falling.
“Leaning over a wall and being able to fall is what gets me so being a pilot, flying upside down up to 40,000 feet in the air doesn’t faze me as you’re strapped into the cockpit and I feel in control.
“I will jump. It’s a great cause and I really want to push to get over £30, 000 which would be fantastic.”
Underwood will jump at Hinton Airfield in Northamptonshire, alongside members of the RAF Spitfire Rugby Sevens squad and other QAHH fund-raisers.
The fund-raising for the jump has reached nearly £26,000 with two days to go before the jump.
“To have raised this much days before the jump is brilliant,” says Rory. “At the moment I’m fine. I go through periods of thinking about it and get apprehensive about the thought of it but I’m hoping when it gets to the day and I get up there, I’ll look out the window it will be fine.
“I’ve requested the biggest, strongest instructor to take me so if I try and plant my feet and refuse to jump they can push me out the door!
“I think I’m alright it will be when I get there and start getting instructions and briefed it will really start to hit me.”
QAHH is one of the oldest national military charities in the UK which cares for physically disabled ex-servicemen and women. Residents travel from across the country to use the services including physiotherapy, rehabilitation, counselling and nursing. Each year they need to raise £1.3 million to continue providing these services.
Support Rory’s participation in the Skydive and the work of the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home with a donation at https://mydonate.bt.com/events/reachfortheskies/107212