90-year-old daredevil braves 120mph speeds despite heart problems
PUBLISHED: 11:57 15 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:45 15 December 2019
A 90-year-old from Felixstowe has gone to new heights to raise money for charity, despite recently being hospitalised with pneumonia and having a pacemaker fitted.
Arthur Bishop has always been admired by his family for his "adventurous streak".
So to celebrate his birthday, the great-grandfather leaped into action and did an indoor skydive to raise money for the nurses who cared for his late wife.
The retired carpenter and building manager from Felixstowe originally wanted to try wing-walking but was refused permission by his local aerodrome because he is slightly too heavy.
Instead, he travelled 100 miles to the base of Britain's biggest indoor skydiving facility, Twinwoods Adventure, where he skydived to raise money for Macmillan and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Mr Bishop, who lost his wife eight years ago, said: "I've had an eventful life, a lot longer than I thought I was going to achieve, so I wanted to put a little bit back into society.
"When my partner died eight years ago, she had a lot of help from the Macmillan nurses and I've seen on TV what great work the air ambulances do."
Mr Bishop braved 120mph wind speeds during his two-minute flight - despite having a pacemaker fitted in July and being hospitalised with pneumonia in September.
But his medical woes didn't stop him showing the younger generation, including his 10 great-grandchildren and nine grandchildren, a trick or two.
Mr Bishop, who describes himself as "reasonably fit", stays trim by walking one mile along a beach near his home, which he's done at 7.30am every day with a friend for the past 20 years.
He has also scaled Sydney's Harbour Bridge, climbed Ayres Rock, scuba dived off the Great Barrier Reef, and also went hang-gliding in his 'younger' days - aged 75.
Speaking of the skydive, Arthur said: "I can't say I was nervous, but it was totally different.
"My actual birthday was a few months ago but this was my belated birthday present to myself. It kept being put off because of my pacemaker and pneumonia but afterwards, I felt chuffed that I'd done it.
"I told my doctor I planned to go indoor skydiving.
"I just thought: 'Well, that's it, I'll do it because now I have a pacemaker - that's better than having an irregular heartbeat.'"
His visit to Twinwoods Adventure marked a nostalgic return for Mr Bishop, who worked on the site in 1952.
The wind tunnel, named the Vertical Spinning Tunnel, was built that year as part of the RAE Bedford site and was used to simulate stall and flat spins with model aircraft.
Mr Bishop's job then was closing manholes and helping move a water tower.