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Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Skydiver wants more recognition for his sport

Skydiver Al Hodgson
Al Hodgson competes all over the world with his wife Pixie

Al Hodgson has won a gold medal in Freestyle Skydiving at the National Championships for the past three years.

He and his wife Pixie, who train at Langar travel all over the world to compete in major events.

Skydiving is a forgotten sport in the UK and Al has to raise most of the money himself - unlike in other countries where all training and jumps are state funded for the national team.

Al said: "It costs us everything we have, basically. All our money goes into skydiving and training."

He added: "It would be nice if people knew it was a sport as well as, for some people, a hobby.

"It has a side to it where people are 100 per cent professional, 100 percent dedicated, and spend every single penny they have on getting better and better."

Al is the only double amputee skydiver in the country.

He was a paratrooper in the British Army when he lost his legs after stepping on a landmine in Northern Ireland, in 1992.

Al Hodgson
Skydiving champion Al Hodgson has done nearly 5,500 jumps

"The last thing I remember is moving a branch because it looked suspicious, stepping forward and being blown straight up into the sky," said Al.

Al asked a friend to end his life when he saw the damage caused to his body. Instead, his friend acted quickly, saving Al's life.

"To get over it is the hardest thing I've ever done," said Al.

"If you want to live the rest of your life you have to find some way of living it.

"For me it was getting my fitness back and finding something which put me on the same level as able bodied people.

"Skydiving seemed like the coolest thing to do."

Inside Out East Midlands followed Al and Pixie during the National Championships at Hibaldstow Airfield, in North Lincolnshire, and at the World Championships in Russia.

You can watch the programme on the BBC Iplayer, here.

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