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Wightlink mariner takes to the skies to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation

(30 July 2021) Wightlink launch coxswain Mark Udle will be exchanging the sea for the sky on Saturday 7 August when he jumps 15,000 feet from a plane above Old Sarum airfield in Wiltshire to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. 

He has vowed to overcome his fear of heights to step out into the air, strapped to an instructor, in a tandem skydive with Go Skydive. Mark’s friend and fellow fundraiser, Ian Cooper from Edinburgh, will also be taking part. 

“The Mental Health Foundation is a cause close to my heart, especially as it’s estimated 50 per cent of people in the UK have had mental health issues during the pandemic,” explains Mark. “Growing up in Portsmouth, there was hardly any support for people with mental health problems. I want to highlight what the Foundation is doing now to help, as well as raise money for the charity.” 

Mark is committed to his challenge and has lost two stone to reach the acceptable weight for the skydive. “I’m petrified at the thought of the jump but I’m determined to do it. You can do anything if you really want to,” he says. 

The 51 year old worked for 30 years on trawlers, 17 years as a skipper, before joining Wightlink. He started out at the ferry company as a rating before becoming a launch coxswain, joining a team which takes crews every day to and from their ships moored in the harbour, as well as carrying out other maritime duties. 

“We wish Mark good luck with his challenge.” says Keith Greenfield, Wightlink Chief Executive. “He’s determined to overcome his fear of heights to highlight mental health issues and raise money for this very good cause. We are all very proud of him.”