Local BBC Sites

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.




SEE ALSO
Amputee claims skydiving honour
14 Jan 10 |  Cumbria
Skydivers fail in record attempt
11 Aug 10 |  Europe
Millionaire plans skydive centre
16 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire
Family skydive in memory of Guard
27 Mar 10 |  South east
Skydiving over Everest
19 May 10 |  World


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific