HE may be 93, but pensioner Billy Hawes certainly still has an appetite for action.

Billy, of Gorse Lane, Tiptree, plunged 11,000ft from a plane to celebrate regaining his mobility.

Billy had been housebound for more than four years and until recently relied on a wheelchair to get about.

But he has now become the oldest person do a tandem skydive in South Africa.


His nephew, Colin Robinson, said: “His wife Hilda passed away eight months ago and being alone and desperate to keep active, he used a zimmer frame to stand and attempted to exercise by walking on the spot and lifting his legs up to his waist.

“He carried on doing this until he felt he could walk a little on his own. He called and said he would like to come visit us here in Johannesburg.

“True to his word, he arrived here unaccompanied on November 8 – and he has carried on with his exercises in our garden.”

On Sunday, Billy climbed into a plane and made the tandem leap from Johannesburg Skydiving Club.

Speaking afterwards, Billy, who turned 93 on Christmas Day, said he thought he was in heaven as he sailed through the clouds.

He said: “I cannot believe what has happened to me after I spent four years in a wheelchair.

“To me, this is the biggest miracle of all.

“When I did it, they said I was the oldest person to jump in South Africa.

“They gave me a cap like the one the team wore in the World Championships, and I am so proud.

“So, what I want to say now is to all the elderly: ‘Don’t sit and fade away, but get up and do what I have done, for if I can do it, so can you’.”