Martin Read Sports News
Locally based cliff diver Blake Aldridge leads an exciting life and was delighted to be asked to share his experiences with the residents of Horsham’s Aspen Place Care Home in Comptons Lane. When the care home opened after extensive refurbishment, the award winning providers invited Blake to the opening ceremony to witness first hand the high standard of care in the luxurious, state of the art environment. Residents are involved in the day to day preparation of their meals in the modern, fully equipped kitchen and the facilities also include a salon and spa, hydrotherapy, and a lifestyle room. After clearly being moved by what he saw, Blake was invited to become a Sports Ambassador for Aspen House, telling the District Post: “It’s an honour and an inspiration – I was third in last year’s Red Bull World Diving Championship and I took my trophy and photographs – it was something very different for the residents, and great to see them so interested with lovely smiles. It’s different what I do and I’m lucky to enjoy a really exciting lifestyle, travelling to some spectacular places and it was heart-warming to be able to engage with them about it.”
As a Red Bull Series World Cliff Diver, Blake jumps off high cliffs and other structures into water many metres below. At Beijing Blake was England’s youngest Olympian for half a century, partnering Tom Daley and took up cliff diving 7 years ago, saying: “I’ve been diving for 30 years and in 2017 I had my best year on the tour yet – I just love it!”
The new Red Bull season opened with dives at the Hell’s Gate location in Texas and will shortly move on to the Basque city of Bilbao, where competitors launch themselves off the Salve Bridge over the Nervion river in front of the stunning Guggenheim Museum. San Miguel in the Azores is the next venue, followed by Sisikon at Switzerland’s Lake Uri. Then, it is on to Denmark, near the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, before going to the Old Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar, and Polignano a Mare on the Adriatic. Among many other places around the world, motivational speaker Blake has also dived in Chile, Cuba and Australia. He has been a qualified coach for 20 years, having been Junior World Diving Champion in 1999 and World Series Champion 10 years ago and has worked on the TV show Jo Brand’s Big Splash and on Celebrity Splash, where he was the choreographer and show diver.
Blake has picked up some serious injuries along the way, including detached retinas, isn’t it time to think of quitting while he’s ahead? Blake sums up: “Sure, I risk my life doing it, but cliff diving is a real passion for me – it ticks all of the boxes and really gets the fear, excitement and adrenaline pumping. One of the guys on the tour is 44 years old – quite a bit older than me – and is an absolute legend. I train hard and am fit, so I have no plans to stop any time soon!”