Councillor jumps into record books


A 78-year-old councillor has dropped into the record books after becoming the oldest person in the world to skydive from 30,070ft.

Horley town councillor David Powell made the tandem jump on June 16 in West Tennessee, USA, reaching speeds of up to 300mph with temperatures as low as -36F.

The jump has so far raised £6,000 for the Royal British Legion and among the people to make a donation was Dame Judy Dench, who sponsored him to the tune of £500.

This was not the first time Cllr Powell had hurled himself out of an aeroplane for charity.

Last year he completed a tandem free-fall from 15,000ft which he said he enjoyed but “felt little challenge” from doing.

He added: “Earlier this year I heard about the 30,000ft high altitude age-related record held by Roy Woodward from Essex and I decided that, at 78 years of age, I could do this.”

There was a more personal reason for going through with the jump this year, especially given his charity of choice.

Cllr Powell said: “I was motivated to do something special for the centenary year of the beginning of the First World War.

“Also, it is the 70th anniversary of my father’s being killed in action at Monte Casino, Italy in 1944.”

As for the jump itself, he said: “Diving out of the plane door at 30,070ft was awesome, and falling between 280mph and 300mph in the ‘thin air zone’ was a fantastic experience. The parachute opened at 5,000ft and I could concentrate better on the scenery below, which was very pleasant.”

As for whether the council action man would throw himself out of any more planes, he said: “I certainly would, subject to Mrs Powell’s permission!”