VETERAN Jack Watson received a hero’s welcome after he took part in his first tandem parachute jump to raise cash for a Wearside charity.
The 91-year-old, from High Barnes, pictured below with instructor Mark Willcox, fulfilled a lifetime ambition yesterday while raising money for Action on Dementia Sunderland.
He decided he would take the leap from 15,000ft to honour his wife Norma, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and those who work for the charity.
The pensioner travelled at speeds of up to 150mph after jumping from the aeroplane above Shotton Colliery.
On the ground, a crowd of family, friends and members of Action on Dementia Sunderland gathered to watch Jack – who has so far raised more than £3,500 with sponsorship and donations – achieve an incredible feat.
After landing, the Second World War veteran, said: “It was fabulous. We were travelling so fast during the free fall and then went really slowly. But I really enjoyed it.
“I’ve always wanted to do that. I didn’t parachute in the army and it was something I always wanted to do.
“I thought it would be a great way of raising money for Action on Dementia. They help so many people and I want today to be about the charity. I want to see people donating to them because they do such a wonderful job.”
Action on Dementia Sunderland Chairman Ernie Thompson, who was waiting on the ground to welcome Jack back to terra firma, said: “I can still barely believe Jack’s done it. He’s a very brave man and I’m delighted that he has achieved his ambition while raising money for our charity.
“I want to thank Peterlee Parachute Club for helping Jack and Shotton Airfield accommodating so many of us.”