Grandad set for skydive at the age of 85

A dream to parachute from a plane is finally coming true for John Gilmartin..... at the age of 85!

Thursday, 3rd August 2017, 12:01 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:56 pm
Daring John Gilmartin is all set for his skydive at the age of 85
Daring John Gilmartin is all set for his skydive at the age of 85

It was the perfect birthday gift from his family for the grandfather-of-three who will be doing a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet up.

“They asked me what I wanted so I told them that at my age I have everything I need but this was something I have always wanted to do, “ said John of Ightenhill, Burnley.

A retired businessman and joiner, John’s hopes of being a parachutist were quashed when he completed his National Service 64 years ago.

He said: “We were given the training but they always said there wasn’t enough staff for us to do it.”

John kept his dream alive and on Saturday, September 2nd, he will finally be taking to the skies with the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster.

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.

Along with the thrill of the experience John is being sponsored to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a cause close to his heart.

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

After the operation he went on to make a full recovery within just six months and is fit, active and living life to the full.

John, who lives with Margaret, his wife of 58 years, said: “I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I have been given the chance to watch my grandchildren grow and spend precious time with them and I do not take that for granted.

“But I have lost relatives and friends who have not been as fortunate.

“The support and care they received from Macmillan has been fantastic and I want to make sure the work it does can continue and also raise some awareness of the charity.”

Family and friends, including the couple’s daughters Colette, Karen and Suzanne and granddaughters Kate, Meghann and Erin will be cheering John on when he takes to the skies.

If you would like to sponsor John log onto or contact John on 01282 457100.