Skydiving For a Cause

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By Joshua Pettit

Photos courtesy of Skydive the Beach and Beyond Melbourne (


Sitting 14,000ft above St Kilda, comedian Russell Gilbert prepares to do a tandem skydive with the Skydive the Beach and Beyond Melbourne team, but this isn’t a skydive just for the adrenaline rush and a view, this is a skydive for a cause.

On Thursday October 16th Sacred Heart Mission holds their ‘Dine with the Champions’ dinner, a dinner mixing sporting greats, fabulous food and good company, with the hopes of raising $75,000 for their Kick Start Health and Wellbeing program. This is a program that offers individualized support to those that are homeless or living in poverty by helping them participate in sport and recreation as well as addressing their physical and mental health and their drug and alcohol use.

Those attending the event will enjoy a delicious dinner at Encore, St Kilda Sea Baths, whilst getting the inside stories from some of our most notable sportsmen and women. It’s hosted by sports journalist and radio presenter Tiffany Cherry who will invite our sporting greats to talk about what makes them tick and what motivates them, along with their triumphs and their tribulations.

But that isn’t all that is planned for this fantastic evening; there will also be silent auctions and raffles where guests have a chance to get their hands on some fabulous sporting memorabilia and once-in-a-lifetime sporting and leisure experiences. Including:

• A Luna Park party package for 20

• Noosa luxury – 5 nights in Witta circle; Noosa’s most sought-after address on the waterfront, a 350m walk to the beach, fine dining, shopping and Hastings Street. This north-facing, architecturally designed home features a private beach and jetty.

• Two VIP tickets to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ as guests of host Dan MacPherson, including an after-show meet and greet.

• A Taste of Melbourne platinum pass

• A St Kilda experience package; including two nights in executive accommodation, two fine-dining experiences, a day on the bay for two courtesy of the
Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and a pamper package.

• An all-day AFL match package for four people including premium seats, a three-course lunch, afternoon tea and lots of extras!

• A guitar signed by The Eagles

• A Melbourne Storm package

• An Ezard dining experience

The ‘Dine with the Champions’ dinner is a wonderful night for a fantastic cause, and to help support the night Russell Gilbert was willing to throw himself out of a plane. We asked Russell why he was willing to do this: “I love Sacred Heart Mission,” he said, “I did their gala last year and had a fantastic time supporting such a great cause… this is a charity that resonates close to home for me”.

The day of the skydive was an early one for Russell, with an 8am start at the St Kilda Marina to prepare for the dive. After a very restless night due to nerves, he joined the Skydive the Beach and Beyond Melbourne team, Sacred Heart Mission’s Fiona Healy, and our photographer Hayden Charles for a few photos before beginning the safety briefing. “The briefing was great,” Russell told us, it made him feel “very relaxed and comfortable,” pushing aside his nerves and building up his excitement for the jump.

At 8:55am he had finished being briefed and was prepared to jump as they departed in the plane, and at 14,000ft it happened; Russell jumped and began to fall down towards St Kilda. “The views were beautiful,” he told us, “it was an exhilarating and scary experience – I felt like a butterfly”. He soared above St Kilda for a while before landing at the marina drop zone at around 9:30am.

The jump was a success and a great cause was supported. Russell told us that he was glad that he could support such a great event; “[the Dine with the Champions dinner] is a great idea to raise money for the homeless and those living in poverty, filled with fantastic prizes for all in attendance”.

“If it weren’t for Sacred Heart Mission, all the people that they help would be far worse off. A lot of people donate their time and money to this great charity that plays a fundamental role in our community,” Russell said, so why not offer your support too and enjoy a fantastic night while you’re at it!

Sacred Heart Mission’s ‘Dine with the Champions’ dinner is held at 7pm on Thursday October 16th, tickets are $175 per person (tables of 10 are $1,750) and can be purchased by calling Peter Mercer on: (03) 8534 4118 or emailing:

So, grab your tickets now and be prepared to enjoy a wonderful night of sporting greats, delicious food and good company while supporting a great cause.

If you’d like to experience the beauty and rush of skydiving as Russell did, you can book your own skydive through Skydive the Beach and Beyond Melbourne’s website or call them at 1300 663 634.


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