WORKING LIVES - PRIVATE PASSIONS

Anna Lea is in her fourth year of medical training and on a work placement as a pre-registration house officer at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. She has skydived 180 times in the past two years.

'I am doing a medical cadetship at Selly Oak before I start full-time employment with the British Army, ' explains Anna. 'So learning how to skydive is a part of my general training. I've been hooked since my first jump in Washington in 2003.

'I was studying at the time, undergoing four weeks of trauma surgery training and received an overseas allowance, so I thought 'what better to spend it on than learning to skydive?'. I enrolled on a twoweek accelerated course where I learnt how to make simple formations in the air and jump on my own.

'Even though I've skydived hundreds of times, I still get scared before I jump, but once I've left the plane the feeling vanishes. However, I did a night jump in the US a few months ago, which terrified me, but in the end the rush of excitement it gave me was worth it.

'I do have to stay in shape to skydive because if you dive with a group you need to be a similar weight to each other. While It is easy to add weight before you dive, It is not so easy to lose it. Four friends and I recently formed 'Team Badger' and are competing in the National Skydiving Championships later this year - although I personally will not be taking part as I am on call that day.

'I want to develop my four-way formation skydiving with the team over the next few years. It is hard to organise a time to get together because we all live quite far apart, but I am sure that as we do manage to meet we'll get better and better. Hopefully, I will not injure myself in the process.' Faye Rowe