George takes his leap at last
MURWILLUMBAH resident George Anderson was ready to jump out of a plane in 1945, but it took him 70 years to realise his skydiving dream.
The 2015 Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year and former Tweed Daily News photographer was serving in the RAF during the Second World War in 1945 as a radio operator in a Lancaster Bomber when it lost three of its four engines.
"I was so ready to jump," he recalls.
But a second engine started back up, negating the need to parachute out.
"I've always been looking forward to it but never thought I'd do it," Mr Anderson said of jumping from an aeroplane.
With two young children, Mr Anderson's wife Betty half-jokingly told him he'd have to wait until he was 90, and that's exactly what he did.
His tandem jump at Tyagarah Airfield took place the day after his 90th birthday on Saturday March 7.
Mr Anderson originally planned to go skydiving on his birthday but the weather wasn't suitable.
"I'm not nervous," Mr Anderson said before his great leap.
"I'm looking forward to it."
Despite having endured health problems in recent years, Mr Anderson wasn't concerned about hurting himself.
"I had an operation in 2002 and had all my stomach removed.
"But I'm not gutless!"
Touching down safely on Tyagarah airfield he was sporting a huge grin and said he was "absolutely thrilled" by the experience.
It is understood he was the oldest person chief tandem instructor Stuart Gough had jumped with.
Mrs Anderson said she wasn't concerned for her husband's safety.
"It's something he's wanted to do for years, so why not," she said.
Their daughter Brenda and son Barry turned out to show their support, while Mr Anderson's sister Hilda Craggs arrived from England to surprise him last week.