Gerry Moglione is hoping to contribute to the £100,000 needed to renovate the roof of St. Mary the Virgin Church, a nineteenth century parish church in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. A first church was built on the site of St Mary’s in 1657 and a chancel designed by Joseph Richards was attached in 1811, followed by the west tower in 1816. The entire church was rebuilt in 1867 in a Gothic Revival style based on the designs of architect Arthur Cates. Moglione, a church regular, is looking for sponsors for a tandem skydive that will take place at Sandown Airport on August 9.
At 80, Moglione, a former teacher, is more than happy to help.
Though he served in the Royal Air Force, this will be his first parachuting jump. The vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev Andrew Poppe, lauded Maglione’s efforts. “I am thrilled Gerry has put himself forward to start this important fund-raising project. He has always been an adventurous sort, and hopefully he will not only be raising money himself but the publicity will encourage others to also fund-raise. “The church’s reserves have almost been used up in the repair of the northern roof of the church; now the aim is to raise money for the southern roof which is also critically in need of repair.”
Moglione is also the president of the Friends of St Mary’s Hospital, an independent volunteer organization that provides support and raises funds for St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. The former teacher can often be spotted pushing the pastry cart around the hospital wards. According to Moglione, “the trolley round is a most rewarding experience when we meet grateful patients and staff.” Since 2000, the Friends of St Mary’s Hospital has raised over £800,000 from its cafés, shops, raffles, collection boxes and the generosity of fundraisers and private donations.
Moglione retired from teaching in 1991 and became very active in sports on the Isle, serving as Secretary of the IW Sports and Recreation Council and Secretary of the IW Island Games Association. Tandem skydiving or tandem parachuting is a type of skydiving where a participant is attached to a harness and connected to a tandem instructor. The instructor guides the diver through the jump from exit through free-fall, piloting the parachute, and landing.
On the Isle of Wight, participants must be over 18, or over 16 with written parental consent.
The weight limit is 95kg clothed, though Club Chief Instructors may approve participants at a higher weight at their discretion. All participants must complete a medical form before jumping, which will be sent to participants following registration. As for age restrictions, there are no formal upper age limits; therefore, it is up to the discretion of the skydiving company. Most participants over 40 or 50 will require a certificate of good health from their doctor to skydive. Skydive Isle of Wight was given permission by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2014 to hold a tandem parachuting trial at Sandown Airport, and has hosted many charity jumps since then.
Before, locals had to travel to the mainland for skydives.