Beaminster: Once a Para always a Para as Ronnie, 80, completes birthday skydive (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Beaminster: Once a Para always a Para as Ronnie, 80, completes birthday skydive
10:56am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Bridport
THE sky was the limit for former Para Ronnie Baker who celebrated his 80th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane.
It was third time lucky for the Beaminster resident who leapt from 15,000 feet with the Red Devils Parachute Regiment Freefall Team at Dunkeswell air field in east Devon to raise money for Help for Heroes.
Two previous attempts were called off because of weather conditions but Ronnie was successful on the third try in the tandem jump with Parachute Regiment instructors.
Ronnie, who lived at Eype for 25 years before moving into a Magna sheltered housing scheme in Beaminster, said: “It was fun and was certainly an experience.
“I was in the Paras and the last jump I did was 50 odd years ago.
“It was more of a freefall than a parachute jump. It was a tandem jump and I was strapped to an instructor.
“We went from about 14,000 or 15,000 feet and dropped to about 5,000 feet.”
He added: “We did go through some cloud which was quite foggy but once through that we could see the coast, possibly Minehead.”
Ronnie served in the Parachute Regiment from 1950 to 1952, including spells in Cyprus and Egypt.
He has so far raised about £800 so far but hopes to raise more money.
Ronnie said: “It was my eightieth birthday last month.
“I had said that I would quite like to do a parachute jump again and somebody said why didn’t I do one for Help for Heroes.”
Ronnie, who moved to Dorset in 1984, has been a parish councillor and a rights of way of officer.
He said: “Age is no barrier. It is a state of mind although I had to get to a doctor’s certificate for the jump to say I was of sound mind and body.”
He added: “Help for Heroes is a wonderful charity.
“I have to thank all the people who have sponsored me so far and any future sponsorship will also be very gratefully received.”
Donations can be made through Ronnie’s fundraising page at bmycharity.com/ronniebaker either before or after the event.