A Second World War veteran is defying doctor’s advice and is set to become the UK’s oldest skydiver – at the age of 100.
While most settle for a letter from the Queen, Verdun Hayes is preparing to celebrate reaching his centenary by leaping out of a plane at several thousand feet.
The plucky pensioner, currently 99, served during the D-Day invasion of Gold Beach and says he can’t wait to complete the challenge – despite his GP refusing to grant him permission to complete the jump.
But the self-described “daredevil” turned to the British Parachute Association to get the nod of approval and is now set to become the oldest skydiver in Britain.
He will fall just one-year short of the world record for the oldest male skydiver, which stands at 101 years and three days.
Verdun, of Georgeham, Devon, said: “The only thing I have done like this is fly a glider for my 90th birthday.
“I said to the pilot when he put my parachute on me that if we pulled the canopy up we could do the two things in one.
“I have always wanted to do a sky dive so thought what better time to do it than for your 100th birthday.”
Verdun will make the jump at Dunkeswell Airfield near Honiton on April 9 alongside two of his grandsons to raise money for the North Devon Hospice.
He said: “All three of us are going up together but I’m determined to go first. I want to be able to watch them on the way down.”
Just days before the skydive Verdun will show off his continued fitness, hosting a pool party for his 100th birthday.
During the celebration, he has promised to “dive in and swim from one end to the other underwater”.
He said: “I know I am so lucky to be where I am today and have my good health.”
Stephen Roberts, chief executive of the North Devon Hospice, said: “We were more than a little surprised when Verdun’s grandson phoned to tell us that his grandad would be jumping out of an aeroplane for his 100th birthday – but what an amazing thing to do.”
To donate to the fundraising appeal visit http://bit.ly/1RXx1Vg