Thrill-seeking seniors tick skydiving off bucket list
PROVING that age is just a number, and that it's never too late to try something new, Whiddon Maclean couple Jock, and Marion Rose, aged 90 and 82, took a 14,000ft leap into the unknown when the pair skydived for the first time at Byron Bay last week.
Joined by fellow Maclean Whiddon resident Eva Casson, 81, for a weekend at Byron Bay, the trio had a picturesque hot air balloon ride last Friday, before Jock and Marion took their adventure a step further and went skydiving.
The thrill-seekers' adventure was part of Whiddon's Best Week program to help make wishes come true as part of a week of tailored activities specially for residents.
Jock said he and Marion were with Eva and went on the hot air balloon ride, before they made a spur of the moment decision to take their thrill-seeking to the next level and jump out of a plane.
"After we did the balloon flight we were sitting and having breakfast and I watched the plane load up the people who were going skydiving, and I watched them go up and drift back down, and there must have been at least four plane-loads and they were landing quite comfortably so I thought I could do that," he said.
"Marion then said she wanted to come too, and that was that. We hadn't thought about skydiving before, it had never come into our mind, but I thought we were in the right spot and it was happening all around us so we may as well take advantage of it.
"I'm glad we did it, but the family were taken aback a bit, but I thought they might have expected we might go and do something a bit silly."
Jock said the experience was "awesome".
"It was about 4°C and 14,000ft when they told us to sit on the edge of the plane door, and our instructor told us to tuck our legs beneath the plan and then bang, we went out head-first," he said.
Jock and Marion celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in May, and first met on a property in the Riverina area of NSW, where Marion was the daughter of Jock's boss.
The couple decided to move to Maclean in 2000 to be closer to family of two children and two grandchildren, and have both travelled Australia and different parts of the world to pursue their shared love of birdwatching.
Eva said she was thrilled to be able to go hot air ballooning, as it was something she has thought of doing, but had not yet had the opportunity to do so - until last Friday.
Whiddon Maclean's deputy director care services, Janene Fisher said that it was an incredible day for the residents, and seeing them live their dreams was really special for the entire team at Whiddon Maclean.
"By getting to know what's important to our residents, we can help make dreams and goals come true," Ms Fisher said.
"Knowing what really makes a difference to each person encourages our staff to go above and beyond in suggesting and making things happen for our residents - like the amazing experiences that Jock, Marion and Eva have all enjoyed.
"They were so excited for their adventure and we'll all be talking about it here for quite some time!"