When push comes to shove, Pip Lamb is ready to take the plunge, even if that means diving headfirst — or is that feet first — to raise some much needed cash for a worthy cause.
Pip is an animal inspector for the Napier SPCA and will be joining more than 250 people around the country who have signed up for the annual Jump to the Rescue, a sky diving campaign which has already raised more than $125,000 this year.
Pip says one of the local inspectors made the jump last year, raising more than $6000 herself.
"So the pressure was on to join the challenge. Both myself and another of our local inspectors have signed up this year. It's definitely stepping out of my comfort zone," she says.
The money raised will go towards all the costs associated with the care, rehabilitation and medical costs of the 40,000-plus animals which go through SPCA's doors in New Zealand every year.
Like all of New Zealand, donations have been greatly impacted by Covid-19. SPCA receives very little government funding so relies on the generosity of communities across New Zealand to raise the $40 million a year needed to operate their service.
"So we're pulling together to raise as much money as possible so we can continue doing the vital work caring for lost, ill, injured, stray and abused animals in our communities.
"During the alert level 4 lockdown, our op shops closed and our face-to-face fundraising was put on hold, so we're really excited to be able to hold Jump to the Rescue, albeit a bit later than intended. It's our first fundraising event since New Zealand went into lockdown."
Pip says she is "absolutely terrified" about the upcoming jump.
"I've never done anything like this before. But it's for the best cause I can think of, so I just went for it."
Time slots are booked all round the country on Saturday, August 1 for the SPCA jumpers. If they can't make it on the day, they receive a voucher valid for 12 months to do their jump.
This year jumpers hail from Auckland, Bay of Islands, Christchurch, Queenstown, Taupo and Tauranga and contribute to what has been described as their most successful campaign so far since its launch three years ago.
Pip joined the SPCA as an animal attendant in 2013 and says she immediately knew she had found her niche.
"I trained to be an SPCA animal welfare inspector the following year, receiving my warrant of appointment in September 2014. Since then I have worked fulltime as an inspector in our Napier centre, until June last year when I took on the role of team leader for the Central 3 Inspectorate, covering Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Waipukurau and Dannevirke."
Pip says the team of five inspectors in the area work hard every day to improve the welfare of animals in our communities.
"Being an inspector can be an incredibly difficult and heart-breaking job, but it can also be wonderfully rewarding. I wake up every day knowing I'll be going to work to make a difference, not just for the animals in our community, but for the people too."
Pip says the SPCA team is happy to see so many people wanting to break free from lockdown and support a worthy cause.
"We've had 100 more than last year register and so far 80 people have reached the $775 needed to secure their free skydive. We have two weeks left, and encourage our community to support our brave jumpers and help them smash their fundraising goals."
With "amazing support" from colleagues and almost all of her Napier team donating to the cause, Pip is preparing herself for the challenge.
"We have a full safety briefing beforehand. So I'll be listening carefully."
Anyone looking for an opportunity of a lifetime to take the plunge is encouraged to sign up at www.spca.nz/jump.
"Otherwise, if you're not ready to take the plunge just yet, you can spread the word and help our jumpers reach their targets."