A former British Army motorcycle stunt rider is proving he’s still up for thrills and spills by taking on a parachute jump.
John Williams’s daredevil biking displays were over 50 years ago on National Service but the 79-year-old wanted to do something special to mark his 80th birthday.
It’s in a good cause too with the Ruthin businessman aiming to raise a packet for the Alzheimer’s Society and Cancer Research with his leap from an aircraft from 10,000 feet up, almost three times the height of Snowdon.
John traded in motorbikes for mowers after his army days as he set up J T Williams Garden Machinery and Tool Hire over 45 years ago but the ambition for the ‘bucket list’ plan has been with him for even longer.
He said: “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and when you’re a kid you imagine doing a parachute jump.
“I once met someone who dropped into Arnhem in the Second World War and I’ve always admired the bravery of those young lads who parachuted into a battle.
“I’ve always wondered if I would have the bottle to do it. I know it won’t be anything like what they did – at least no-one is going to be shooting at me.”
The father of three and grandfather of three young girls will head for the Black Knights Parachute Centre, near Lancaster, in October, three months before he reaches 80, to tackle his challenge and hopes to raise £1,000 for his chosen charities.
Anyone over 40 has to have a medical before parachuting but John, still working full time at the business in Brickfield Lane, Ruthin, and swimming every week, passed with flying colours.
He said: “I had to lift my knees up to my chest and I’ve been practising my landings by jumping off a chair and they’ve gone very well so far. I can’t wait to tackle the real thing.
“It was a relief to pass the medical because I have been very keen to do this and I would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t been able to but it shows that my wife, Joyce, has been looking after me all these years.
“Now I’ve made the decision and been passed fit I can’t wait to get on with it. I just hope the weather is going to be good that day.
“The man who is going to partner me on the jump is ex-Red Devils, the Army’s parachute display team, so I’m in good hands.
“I wanted to raise money for charity because a lot of people my age suffer with things like cancer and dementia and I’m fortunate enough to be in good shape and I’d like to do something to help those who haven’t been as lucky as me.”
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can go to John’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/teams/johnsparachutejump, at Barclays Bank account number 43610373, sort code 20-25-76, or at J T Williams Garden Machinery and Tool Hire, Brickfield Lane, Ruthin.