Race pals set for skydive treble

Amy Starkey chief executive Newmarket Racecoruses ANL-140324-151308001
Amy Starkey chief executive Newmarket Racecoruses ANL-140324-151308001

Familiar faces from across Newmarket’s racing industry will take to the skies later this month to participate in a parachute jump in aid of charity.

Seven names associated with the town’s racing community will leap 10,000ft from a plane above Beccles Airfield on September 28 in an attempt to raise funds for leading racing charity Racing Welfare.

Heading up the list of names to take on the hair raising challenge is Newmarket Racecourses manager Amy Starkey.

She will be joined by fellow Newmarket Racecourses employees Lucinda McClure, Molly Smith, Sally Butterworth and Emma Wood.

“Racing Welfare is special for us as it is the Jockey Club’s charity,” said Amy.

“I felt that like it was the right thing to do and I wanted to give something back.

“If I can do something to help others out then I will and if that means jumping out of a plane, so be it.

Talk of participating in the skydive for the 33 year old first materialised earlier this year after the topic was discussed during a lunch date.

“The whole thing came about when George McGrath, Lesley Graham and I went out for lunch,” said Amy.

“Lesley was doing her cycle ride across France for charity but I couldn’t do that as it was as the same time as the July Meeting so we talked about what we could do and we came up with the skydive.

“The plan was to parachute down on to the July Course during Racing Welfare day but that was not possible so that is why we are doing it later this month.”

With the parachute jump now less than a month away Amy, who has already raised more than £2,000 for the stunt, is happy with the situation she has put herself in.

“I am looking forward to it. I did watch a skydiving video to give me an insight in to it but doing that has made me more nervous.

“I will have to mentally prepare myself for it with it coming straight after the three days of the Cambridgeshire Meeting,” added Amy.

As for McGrath, who is the chief executive of the National Association of Stable Staff (NASS), which has its headquarters in town, he is still coming to terms with what lies ahead of him.

“My idea of getting on a plane is ideally getting on it for several hours having a few drinks and arriving somewhere warm that has a beach and a swimming pool, not exiting it while it is still in the air,” said George.

“However, as I was out at lunch with two ladies (Amy and Lesley) I couldn’t say no to them – plus, I am happy to contribute to Racing Welfare.

While admitting his fundraising efforts have yet to take off, the 43-year-old has ensured he will be in good shape for the leap of faith.

“I haven’t raised a dollar yet for it but I will see what I can get from the trustees,” said George.

“Although I have not done any specific preparation,I do keep myself fit by riding out and attending Pat McAleese’s boot camp classes three times a week. I am looking forward to it but it will be definitely something I never do again.”

Rosie Margarson, daughter of town trainer George Margarson, is out to prove a point to her sister Katie and racing driver boyfriend Matt Parry.

“My other half races in the Formula Renault Eurocup and my sister runs in marathons, so I am the only one who hasn’t or isn’t doing anything with that real adrenalin rush,” said Rosie.

“Hopefully throwing myself out of a plane will address that.

“Although I am not too bothered about it all at the moment I am sure that will all change on the day and I will probably be crying as we drive towards the airfield.”

Although collecting more than McGrath in the fundraising stakes, the recently turned 20-year-old is still some way short of her £500 target.

Even so, Rosie, who works at the Three Blackbirds in Wood Ditton, is hopeful that will not be the case come the big day.

“Money has come in dribs and drabs, with a lot of my friends putting in bits and pieces, but it has been quite hard pushing it,” said Rosie.

“We each have a target of raising £500, and if I can reach that then I would be very pleased with myself.

“Hopefully I can get a few people behind me and make that happen.”