A WIRRAL paramedic has raised more than £1,500 for the North West Air Ambulance after taking to the skies himself.

Ellesmere Port man Chris Evans has played a huge part in helping to save the lives of those in need across the borough, spending his days and nights working out of ambulance stations in Arrowe Park, Bebington, Birkenhead, Heswall, Moreton and Wallasey.

But 43-year-old Chris wanted to do his bit to help the charity that offers lifesaving treatment in the most critical of times – by jumping out of a plane flying at 15,000 ft.

Back in January, Chris saw a tweet from North West Air Ambulance appealing for people to sign up for a tandem skydive on April 26 to help raise vital funds.

Chris – who has never taken part in anything like a tandem skydive before – set himself an initial target of £500 but has smashed it, raising £1,566.

After signing up almost immediately, the time soon came for Chris to meet his skydive instructor and cameraman at Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancashire.

“The thought of jumping out of a perfectly good plan from 15,000 ft – the highest tandem skydive in the UK – was exciting, yet still quite nerve wracking,” said Chris.

“The plane took off, we were all crammed like sardines climbing steadily to the target height of 2.84 miles – the views of the landscape were fantastic.

“The time came, my instructor shuttled me towards the now open door, I swung my legs out, bent them beneath the plane, held my head back, looked left towards the camera and whoosh, out we go.”

Chris described the feeling of free-falling at 120mph for close to 6,000 ft as “exhilarating” and said the whole experience left him with a pounding heart filled with adrenaline and a smile “as wide as the Mersey”.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” said Chris.

“And one that I will remember forever.

“However, there was one reason and one reason only that I put myself through that and that was to raise funds for the North West Air Ambulance Charity.”

Donations can still be made until July 26 by visiting justgiving.com/stato12648