80-year-old veteran completes charity skydive 60 years after he first jumped out of plane - The Solihull Observer

80-year-old veteran completes charity skydive 60 years after he first jumped out of plane

Solihull Editorial 19th Nov, 2018 Updated: 19th Nov, 2018   0

AN 80-YEAR-OLD veteran who completed his first skydive for the British Army more than 60 years ago has jumped out of a plane once more in aid of Solihull Hospital.

Derek Smith took to the skies alongside his son Neil, friend Andrew and Andrew’s son Jack and raised about £1,500 for the oncology department at the hospital.

Derek completed a skydive when he was serving in Hamelin, Germany, in the 1950s.

He said: “It was my 80th birthday back in March and I decided to do something a bit different to celebrate so got together with my son, Neil, and some friends to do a skydive.

“It’s definitely a better experience nowadays with the modern parachutes.

“The landing was much smoother than it was with the army parachutes, that’s for sure.”

Derek’s friends and family supported his efforts and dug deep to sponsor him with the money intended to support cancer patients.

This included the staff and patrons at the Land Rover Sports and Social Club in Solihull.

Derek said: “Solihull Hospital has been there for my family and I over the years, my brother and sister Ronnie and Dorothy were both treated at the hospital before they passed away.

“The staff at the hospital work so hard for the patients that they treat and so I wanted to do something to give back to them.”

Fundraising manager at Solihull Hospital Charity Samantha Howell said: “The charity’s thanks go to Derek for his fantastic fundraising efforts. It takes a lot of nerve to take on a skydive, and that he was keen to do one sixty years after his first says a lot about his character.

“The money that he has raised will help the charity to provide for cancer patients at the hospital.

“Thanks to donations such as Derek’s, the charity was recently able to help fund the new cancer centre at the hospital which provides a modern and comfortable space for patients to receive their treatment.”

For more information please go to www.solihullhospital.org.uk or call 0121 371 4852.


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