Uplifting: Part of the group of nine skydivers, some of whom had never been in a plane before, helped Tenille Petrie, 10, of South Grafton take her big leap on Saturday.
Uplifting: Part of the group of nine skydivers, some of whom had never been in a plane before, helped Tenille Petrie, 10, of South Grafton take her big leap on Saturday.

Young skydiver's leap of faith

STANDING with her feet firmly on the ground shortly after her skydive on Saturday, the youngest person to ever skydive in Northern NSW admitted she was “a bit scared” on the way up.

As to the way down – “awesome” summed up the feelings of Tenille Petrie, 10, of South Grafton.

Her leap was part of a family and friends adventure inspired by a combination of grief and hope.

Tenille dedicated her jump to her uncle Brett Grantham who died of a heart attack six months ago.

More recently, family friend Robbie Gray, 31, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and then a brain tumour.

Robbie, who operated the Woolworths Plus mechanic shop in Grafton for seven years, said he was thrilled he and his friends could take the plunge.

“Some of them hadn't even been up in a plane so it was just amazing – they absolutely loved it,” he said.

“‘Wahoo' was definitely the word for the day.”

Robbie, who now lives in Glenreagh, said his wife Erin and son Logan, 3, also loved their day at the aerodrome.

“You've got to look forward, don't look back,” he said. “Because tomorrow's always a better day – it's got to be.”

Although, he admitted, Saturday was right up there with the best of days.

Tenille's skydive instructor Bernie Stevermuer, of Coffs City Skydivers, a veteran of some 7500 skydives, said Tenille was the youngest person he'd ever tandem jumped with.

“She was really calm actually ... but deep down she was scared,” he said.

“Afterwards you just couldn't wipe the smile off her face.”


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