Swindon AdvertiserEx-Para takes to the skies...at 83 (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Grandad parachutes 10,000ft for charity

Swindon Advertiser: Bob Williams has done a parachute jump for Prospect Hospice at the age of 83 Buy this photo Bob Williams has done a parachute jump for Prospect Hospice at the age of 83

AN 83-year-old took a leap back in time as he completed a parachute jump to raise money for charity.

Bob Williams, of Park South, was a private in the Army parachute regiment 3 Para, and he took to the skies again as he took part in a parachute jump on Sunday.

He went to Redlands Airfield, at Wanborough supported by his family, to complete what was the 19th parachute jump of his life.

The jump was a bit different to what he is used to because it was a tandem and he was free falling for a period of the jump, which was 10,000 feet high, not the 800 metres he used to jump.

Bob said: “It was great. I did 18 jumps in my time in the para, which was part of my national service.

“They were all volunteers in the paras and I loved it.

“This was very different to the jumps I used to do, this was 10,000 feet up not 800 metres – back then you were hardly in the air.

“It did bring back some good memories, though, and It was nice to have all the family there watching.

“I was a bit apprehensive before the jump but once I was out it was great.

“You were hit by the cold up there. We jumped out and we were free falling before the parachute came out and the instructor twirled us around a bit and pointed out familiar sites.”

Bob moved to Swindon from London in 1958, where he started work as a butcher before working for Pressed Steel for 30 years. He has lived in the same house for 50 years.

He lost his wife Pat to cancer two year ago, which is what inspired him to jump one last time.

He said: “My wife died of cancer and the Prospect Hospice used to come and visit her, and her sister died in Prospect so it’s charity that is close to our hearts.

“I want to raise as much as I can for the charity.”

Bob was accompanied by his family at the airfield, including his son John Williams and daughter Lynn Gallagher, eight grandchildren and three great children.

Lynn said: “All the family were there and it was a great day. He really enjoyed it. He said he was a bit nervous when the door opened but he enjoyed it.

“It was quite cold as well, and the jump got put back because there were problems with the plane, but he eventually got to do it.”

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