Kevin Phillips of Broulee wanted to do “something out of the ordinary” for his 90th birthday, and he well and truly went through with it.
He plunged out of an aeroplane 14,000 feet above Moruya on Sunday and parachuted to Earth with Skydive Oz instructor Sally Baker.
“It was pretty awesome,” he said.
Making it even more awesome was the crowd of 50 friends and relatives who greeted him when he landed on terra firma.
Among the crowd was his daughter Karen Allen, who, having skydived twice herself, had recommended the experience to him.
“It was a wonderful surprise because I didn’t know she would be there,” he said.
Despite this being his first jump, Kevin wasn’t affected by nerves.
“The only stress I felt was when I was in the close confines of the aircraft, because there were four of us making the jump,” he said.
As well as Kevin and Sally, there were two back-up jumpers as well.
“Kevin did a great job; he was all over it,” Sally said.
Later, when the gathering had proceeded to the Tomakin Sports and Social Club, Kevin was surprised to hear his feat and his birthday announced to the whole club.
That Kevin wasn’t nervous about the jump is not surprising, as he is a veteran of some of the hardest fighting in World War II.
Born in Limerick, Ireland, on the palindromic date of July 22, 1922, he served with the legendary British Eighth Army in Tunisia, Sicily, and on the Italian mainland.
“It (the skydive) was nothing out of the ordinary as far as risk is concerned,” he said.
“It was a great day and I want to do it again, and I think my daughter might join me.”