Skydiving grandad finally lives his high flying dream

John during his skydive challenge
John during his skydive challenge

Grandfather John Gilmartin is proof that age is no barrier to achieving your dreams.

For the 85-year-old fulfilled a lifelong ambition to parachute from a plane.

John gives the thumbs up before his tandem skydive with instructor Chris Davies

John gives the thumbs up before his tandem skydive with instructor Chris Davies

And, not one to shrink from a challenge, John jumped from 15,000 feet which was 3,000 feet higher than the 11,000 he had planned originally.

And the challenge with the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster included a 60 second freefall for the retired joiner and businessman who described his experience as "really excellent."

He said: "It was everything I expected and more, I really enjoyed it."

And what makes John's challenge even more fantastic is the fact he has raised over £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a cause close to his heart.

For 15 years ago John was diagnosed with stomach cancer and doctors removed half his stomach and two tumours the size of golf balls.

He went on to make a full recovery and live a full and active life, not something he ever takes for granted and he wanted to give something back to the charity that gave him so much help and support and also make sure the great work it does can continue.

John's partner and instructor was former paratrooper Chris Davison and among those watching John from the ground were Margaret, his wife of 58 years, the couple's daughters Karen, Suzanne and Colette and granddaughter Erin (15).

John's pal, Ken Gibson who is 80 and also a former paratrooper, was also there with family friends Ken and Janet Pickering.

Suzanne said: "He wasn't the slightest bit nervous and had a ball."

The skydive was a birthday gift for John from his family as they knew he had always dreamed of doing one since his National Service days 64 years ago.

He was given the go ahead by his GP and had to take a short medical at the centre before he was declared fit to fly.

There is still time to donate to John's appeal at @justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Gilmartinskydive or contact John on 01282 457100.