A pensioner who has been battling cancer for the past 16 years has completed a fundraising parachute jump on his 80th birthday.
Maurice Wilson, who lives at Blackmoorfoot, took part in a 15,000ft tandem jump above a Lincolnshire airfield to raise hundreds of pounds for Cancer Research.
Also taking a leap of faith were two of his grandsons, 16-year-old William Crawshaw and 19-year-old Benjamin Boulton, who were eager to join him for the adventure.
Maurice, a retired analytical chemist, decided to make the jump after Anthony Ribouton, owner of the Bull’s Head at Blackmoorfoot, completed a solo jump for charity last year.
Said Maurice: “People kept saying ‘You’re 80 this year, what do you want?’ When you’re 80, you don’t want anything! I thought I wouldn’t mind making a jump to raise money for Cancer Research UK. When I had my 70th birthday party at Outlane Golf Club I asked for donations to the charity instead of presents and raised £152.”
Maurice was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001 and has been on medication to shrink the size of the tumour since then. He also underwent four weeks of radiotherapy at St James’ Hospital in Leeds.
In 2005, he went for knee replacement surgery when – as part of the pre-op tests – it was discovered he had a tumour in the bladder. The tumour was successfully removed – after which he had knee replacement surgery on both knees.
Maurice and his grandsons made the jump from a plane 15,000ft above Hibaldstow airfield in Lincolnshire.
“For the first five or six thousand feet we were in freefall,” said Maurice. “You don’t sense the speed you’re travelling at because there’s nothing to measure it against other than the wind rushing past. When I landed, the first thing I thought was ‘Wow, I can’t believe I just did that!’”
Maurice admits: “I was a bit borderline to make the jump – I also have a shoulder problem! There were some doubters who said I’d never do it. My wife Ann was a bit apprehensive, but she didn’t say anything until after the jump.”
Maurice, who worked for ICI in Manchester and Huddersfield for many years, aims to raise £1,000 for Cancer Research UK when all the donations come in. Regulars at the Bull’s Head at Blackmoorfoot and the Swan at Slaithwaite have been collecting cash on his behalf.
Anyone wishing to donate can email firstname.lastname@example.org