A 95-year-old ABLE Day Centre volunteer successfully did two parachute jumps in the space of a week.
On the 8th September, John Jeffries jumped with the famous Red Devils at Peterlee, to raise money for the Northumbria Blood Bikes charity.
Then, on 15th September, he did another jump in Arnhem, Holland, this time to recreate a jump he made in 1944 during the ill-fated Operation Market Garden in the Second World War.
When word got out about his jumps, John was deluged with requests for interviews from the likes of the BBC, ITV, national newspapers and even foreign TV crews. Even the British Ambassador in Holland wanted his photograph taken with him.
John was invited to Ambassadors’ reception in Holland, where the Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, Lt. General Sir John Lorimer, KCB DSO MBE presented him with an award for embodying the undying spirit of the parachute regiment.
This award was only 1 of 11 that had been given by Sir John as Colonel Commandant of the regiment.
John’s daughter, Lynn Tomkinson, who is Manager of The Able Centre, says: “The publicity was crazy but dad loved every minute of it.
“You can see from the pictures how much he enjoyed jumping from a plane again and he was very proud to have received the award.”