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Skydiver Sid takes one last drop at 82
HE HAS had his head in the clouds but now, at the grand old age of 82, pensioner Sid King has vowed to keep his feet on the ground after his final skydive.
Last Sunday was a red letter day for super Sid, of St Peter's Road, South Ham, as he leapt out of a plane at 12,000 feet.
At an age when most people are just happy to put their feet up, Sid was happy to be making his fourth parachute jump in a decade.
Sid, who worked in the boilerhouse at the former Park Prewett psychiatric hospital in Basingstoke for 41 years, has been a super trooper when it comes to fundraising, rising to charity challenges for years.
He ran his first marathon in Basingstoke in the 1950s, has completed five London Marathons and cycled from Land's End to Basingstoke.
Starting in 1999, Sid had already done three skydives in aid of Age Concern. And the charity will again benefit from the funds raised from his swansong jump.
While Sid enjoyed his latest leap, he confirmed that the feat, performed at Hinton Airfield, near Oxford, would be his last.
He said: "At my age I have got to keep well - that's the main thing. Coming out of the plane was the best bit, and when the canopy opens you get a great view."
He did his dive in tandem with Bill Jenkins, who has made more than 5,000 jumps with the Hinton Parachuting Club.
Bill said: "Sid was there like Superman with his arms out and took control as soon as we got out of the plane. He was very solid all the way down.
"The important thing is to have a strong headwind to make the landing easier, and we had that today."
No one was happier to see Sid and Bill make a safe landing than Sid's family and friends, including his relieved wife Phyllis.
Speaking as her husband was in the air, 76-year-old Phyllis said: "I will be happy when he is down. He said his previous jump would be his last time, but I hope this will be the last."
Maria Mitchell, area director at the Basingstoke branch of Age Concern, praised the parachuting pensioner.
She said: "Sid is marvellous at his tender age of 82 and a shining example to us all. Age should be no barrier to extraordinary achievement.
"We are very grateful that Sid has nominated Age Concern again to benefit from his efforts. Well done Sid and many, many thanks."
Sid hopes to raise more than £1,000 for Age Concern Hampshire in Basingstoke from his jump - and it is not too late to sponsor him.
To do so, contact the charity on 01256 423874.