A NORTH YORKSHIRE soldier will help launch this year’s national Poppy Appeal.

National skydiving champion Major Alastair Macartney, of Fairburn, near South Milford, is a founder member of Jump4Heroes, the Royal British Legion skydiving team.

Maj Macartney and his colleagues will leap from a plane above Colchester, Essex, in front of families of 16 Air Assault Brigade to launch the appeal on October 28.

Major Macartney, 34, has previously served in the Balkans and is learning Pashto before a deployment to Afghanistan next year.

He joined the army 15 years ago and serves with the Royal Logistic Corps, setting up Jump4Heroes three years ago.

He said: “I created it back in 2007 to help raise awareness for our heroes. I’m part of the army and national skydiving team and I decided that through my skills we could raise awareness of the British Legion and other military charities.”

Major Macartney has previously represented Great Britain at 11 skydiving World Championships in a variety of disciplines.

He has more than 350 base jumps and 6,500 skydives to his name.