A BIRTHDAY at 90 years old often calls for Sunday lunch at the local workers club. But for Bill Lennon, that was never going to be enough – he celebrated with two back to back skydives over Lake Macquarie.
“I’ve already had my birthday cake, now I’ve got the icing too,” Mr Lennon told the Newcastle Herald after returning from his second dive for the day on Tuesday morning, which was also his 90th birthday.
“I’m going to do a jump every Christmas until I either break the world record or cark it in between,” he said. He first skydived in December 2018.
The decision to make the leaps at Lake Macquarie Airport was an easy one for the Gosford retiree. Inspired by a friend who battled prostate cancer, he set out to raise funds for the Cancer Council.
Mr Lennon said he did the two jumps in one day because he “wanted to get value for money”, and did one jump for his friend and one for himself.
“The second one was real good … I spread my arms out like a bird”, he said.
With the help of sponsors such as Dick Smith, Mr Lennon expects to hand over “around $3000” to the Cancer Council now the jumps are done and dusted.
He has high hopes of one day breaking the world record for the oldest skydiver, currently held by a 102 year old Australian woman, and he sees no reason why he shouldn’t.
“I have my full drivers licence … and I won’t use a walking stick. I have one, but I won’t use it,” he said.
Although Mr Lennon enjoyed being with family on Sunday, he was flying solo at the airport. His wife of 66 years didn’t want to see him get hurt - “She’s gone to a Tai chi class and I’ve gone skydiving,” he said.
Skydive Australia, the company operating at Lake Macquarie Airport, said Mr Lennon was “definitely up there” with one of the oldest people to skydive at the airstrip.
Mr Lennon has had an adventurous spirit throughout his long life, as he recalls that at this time 69 years ago, he and his skipper friend were navigating their way to the Solomon Islands with nothing but a compass and a “50 foot boat”.