Parachuting pensioner on a high – Horncastle NewsApril 19, 2021
Lincolnshire Freemasons say their 85-year-old member Bob Smith is the oldest anywhere to have made a tandem parachute jump for charity – from almost three miles up!
They’ve so far been unable to identify any brother older than Bob who’s taken such a plunge.
And the parachuting pensioner’s verdict after the leap of faith? “It should be on everyone’s bucket list – but I can’t get anyone else to take it on, and I won’t be doing it again.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s a thing any sane person would do!”
Bob, a member of the Sir Joseph Banks Daylight Lodge in Horncastle, plunged in freefall for almost 90 seconds before his instructor opened the parachute for the rest of the descent, which took almost 15 minutes altogether.
Bob said: “It was a fantastic experience. We took the ‘scenic descent’, and I could see the North Sea and the River Humber, and all the villages and roads laid out beneath me.
“It was quite exciting, and I didn’t close my eyes once.”
He was full of praise for the team at Skydive Hibaldstow.
He said: “They looked after me really well, and they were as determined as I was that I should go through with it.
“I had a huge rush of adrenaline and a massive sense of achievement.”
The idea for Bob’s jump grew from a conversation with a couple of friends, when they were discussing how to make a positive contribution to a five-year charity fundraising campaign launched in January by Lincolnshire’s Freemasons, with the aspiration to raise £2.25m.
Bob added: “I came up with the idea, and my friends said I was mad.
“I wasn’t sure about that myself, but the doctor said it was OK, in spite of my heart trouble, diabetes, gout, and all the other things an 85-year-old suffers from, so I said I’d do it.
“Although I’ve done the jump, my feet haven’t touched the ground since, because of everything else that’s happened.”
Bob’s had a tough year; on top of the other illnesses he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and lost his wife Pam earlier in the year.
Bob has set himself a personal fundraising target of £10,000 on his Everyday Hero page.
Sadly, the total raised isn’t going up as fast as Bob came down when making the recordbreaking leap – but there’s still the opportunity for others to make donations.
Bob said: “What people have given already is astonishing, and I’m really grateful.
“If we don’t make that target, I’ll make up the difference myself.”
To make a donation visit Bob’s online donation page at: https://e0151.everydayhero.com/uk/teamrobert-henry