‘I was one of 117 women in a record skydive’

Skydiver Lesley Gale
©David Severn

After 30 years of skydiving, Lesley Gale decided to seek out an extra challenge

First Person: ‘I’m Britain’s first female beer inspector’

After 26 years in the industry, Annabel Smith is passionate about beer being a ‘gender-neutral drink’

David Cruse

First Person: ‘I teach English to the Japanese using “Downton Abbey”’

Part of David Cruse’s job teaching at the British Council in Tokyo is promoting popular British culture

First Person: ‘I started a poetry corner for commuters’

David Hunt enjoys the buzz people get out of the verse that he and London Underground staff place on a station noticeboard

Mona Ramouni
©James P Morse

First Person: ‘I’m blind but have a guide horse’

Mona Ramouna relates how acquiring Cali, her guide horse, ‘was like being able to see again’

First Person: ‘I knit my mother’s front garden’

Suzanne Haggerty creates woollen outdoor displays for the public to enjoy

Njabulo Madlala at the Barbican
©Charlie Bibby

First Person: ‘I studied at the Guildhall without being able to read music’

After his audition, Njabulo Madlala was offered a full scholarship on the spot

First Person – ‘I was the only passenger when my pilot collapsed’

Andy Lewis was flying over the Cape Verde Islands when his pilot lost consciousness: ‘I’m not religious but I feel somebody stopped me from dying’

First Person: ‘I breed insects for eating’

Laetitia Giroud’s farm in Spain supplies insect food for both human and animal consumption

Paul Chauvaux
©Charlotte Tanguy

First Person: ‘I make chocolate stilettos’

Chocolatier Paul Chauvaux says the shoe has to be sturdy enough to stand but delicate enough to look good

First Person: ‘A wildfire broke out as I photographed a wedding’

Josh Newton’s dramatic photo - taken with his smartphone - became a viral hit

‘I give advice to strangers’

Matt Stillman, a writer and personal coach from Harlem, has sat with about 3,500 people in Union Square since 2009

‘I remove tattoos from gang members’

Suyapa Bonilla, a neighbourhood nurse in Honduras, helps ‘mareros’ blend in and hopefully get jobs

‘I make educational pancakes’

With a condiment squeeze bottle and a good non-stick pan, Nathan Shields has made about 1,000 – from a portrait of Newton to nudibranchs

‘I make skulls out of old cassette tapes’

Artist Brian Dettmer hopes that by transforming old media into something new, he’s granting it a form of immortality

‘I’m one of the last Bollywood film poster painters’

K Chinnappa learnt how to paint from a neighbour as a child in Bangalore; he’s now 77, and has worked on about 4,000 films

First Person: ‘I used the world’s oldest fossil find as a doorstop’

Ross Fargher found the 560-million-year-old fossil as he was rounding up sheep on a remote area of his family’s farm in Australia

First Person: ‘I’ve got 1,271 airline uniforms in my closet’

Cliff Muskiet: ‘Pan Am stewardesses always had interesting headwear, as do Emirates and Etihad today’

First Person: ‘I’m a world champion thumb wrestler’

Dayna ‘Big Digit’ Hunt studies at university to become a theatre nurse but secretly dreams of winning her third title in a row

First Person: ‘I’m a professional knife thrower’

John Taylor spent 30 years as a policeman trying to protect people from knives; now he throws bladed weapons for fun

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