Today’s Treasures – John Golder’s 90th Birthday Skydive – a lovely story
John had been caring for his partner, Iris, who was suffering from dementia, and one afternoon she fell whilst trying to get out of bed. He phoned for help but, after waiting two hours for an ambulance that didn’t arrive, he picked her up himself and put her back in bed. About two hours later, he developed chest pains so he phoned for a carer to look after Iris and then another ambulance, which turned up in about ten minutes.
Whilst John was in hospital, Iris couldn’t understand where he had gone and spent the next three days searching the house for him night and day, and the poor lady who had been given the job of caring for her had no sleep at all. So, it was decided to take Iris into care and, after several days recovering in hospital, John arrived home to an empty house.
John realised he could no longer care for iris but was very upset, so when Julie, his PA, arrived she was very concerned about him and thought that going out for lunch might cheer him up – she suggested the Sky Dive Café on Prees Airfield.
John had been thinking about raising some money for the RAFA who had taken great care of his son who is an ex RAF Halton apprentice and it occurred to him that a ninety-year-old doing a tandem sky dive should raise a bit of cash.
John and Julie duly arrived at the Sky Dive Café. Julie ordered the food – and John signed up for a sky dive! He then discovered that, because of his age, he had to have a doctor’s certificate. So, he took the certificate to his doctor – who would not sign it. As it turned out, he was quite right as within another couple of days John had another heart attack. This one was serious and involved a dash to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital through red lights with a lot of siren wailing and blue flashing lights. John was then taken to the Cardiac Hospital in Stoke, where, after several x-rays and various scans, the Surgeon said: “You have a serious heart problem, we can treat you with medication or we can operate. If we operate, there’s a 50:50 chance you will not survive.”
John’s reply was: “Operate – I will survive because you will see I do.” The surgeon’s response was: “I wish I was as confident as you.” As the surgeon left, one of the nurses came up to John and asked if he was OK and John said: “I’m just a bit fed up because I had planned to do a tandem sky dive and that will not now be possible.” When John explained what it was for and why, the nurse said: “That’s OK, I will do it for you”. Her name is Julie Symms. As they chatted, two more nurses joined them and, on learning what Julie had said, they both volunteered to jump as well. They are nurses Victoria Williams and Katie Newbon.
John says: “Obviously someone thought I was not going to survive the operation as they sent a Padre to talk to me. This gentleman was The Rev Nimilote Rokotoro (Roko). He had served ten years in the Royal Engineers, having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He did nothing to save my soul, but we did have a good laugh – and, when I told him about the nurses and what they had proposed, his immediate reaction was: ‘I will jump for you as well’. So now, I have three nurses and a reverend, all prepared to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft for the RAFA and RAF Benevolent Fund.”
John’s target is to raise £100,000, to be split between the two charities. Anything over that will go to dementia research. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-golders-skydive
Published in the August edition of the Whitchurch Gossip