Rainham great-grandfather skydives for 80th birthday after flying lesson was ‘boring’

A great-grandfather from Rainham has shown that age is no barrier to adrenaline-fuelled fun after completing a charity skydive for his 80th birthday.

Ron Hawes, of Cherry Tree Lane, celebrated his milestone by raising money for an orphanage in Kenya and a young girl with cancer.

Fearless Ron is no stranger to taking a risk for charity – having walked on the wing of an aeroplane for his 75th, raising �2,000 in the process.

Ron, who turned 80 in April, had tried to do the jump four times previously but bad weather stopped the take-off.

Last Friday he finally got to fulfil his ambition of diving from 12,000 feet through a centre in Cambridgeshire.


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He said: “It was absolutely brilliant, you go up 12,000 feet with in tandem you free fall 120 mph for about 35 seconds, and then they open the ‘chute and you just glide down for about four minutes.

Ron, whose daughter Lynn Wise also skydived at the same time, said that his family are used to his high-risk adventures: “They’re all just used to it, I think I’ve been grounded now though, my wife says this is the last one I’m doing – she probably thinks I’m mad.”

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But the former judo instructor hinted that he might be tempted to have a go at something else in future.

“The wing walk was good,” he said, “I had a flying lesson once, but I found it a bit boring, it’s very slow, you can have more fun in a car.

“I would like to do abseiling but only on a really big building. I wouldn’t do it unless I can get up The Shard.”

Ron’s skydive was in aid of the God Our Father’s Children’s Home in Watamu, Kenya and Raise for Stacey – a fund to help a six-year-old girl with neuroblastoma get a life-saving operation.

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