Mt Al­bert man, 95, plans jump of his life from an aero­plane

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JENNY LING

Ge­orge Keruse has spent much of his re­tire­ment at his beloved Bal­moral Bowl­ing Club, out on the green or play­ing cards.

On Sun­day the jovial 95-year-old gen­tle­man will head to He­lensville, climb aboard a small plane at Parakai air­field and at around 12,000 feet, jump out – with a para­chute.

‘‘You can’t be liv­ing in quiet­ness all the time, fright­ened to do this or fright­ened to do that,’’ he says.

Mr Keruse has been part of Bal­moral Bowl­ing Club for 35 years. When win­ter weather forces play­ers in­side, he en­joys run­ning card com­pe­ti­tions for mem­bers. They par­tic­u­larly like play­ing 500.

The Mt Al­bert res­i­dent says the idea of a tan­dem sky­dive came about on a bit of a whim.

‘‘I’ve heard oth­ers talk­ing about en­joy­ing it and how it was a thrill and I thought ‘I’d like to do that’. It’s not a bucket list or any­thing, I just wanted to do it. I think it’ll be ex­cit­ing.’’

He’s not scared, ‘‘not even a lit­tle bit’’.

‘‘It’s only a jump,’’ he says. ‘‘ The only thing is if it [the para­chute] doesn’t open.’’

The sec­re­tary of the bowl­ing club, John Thomp­son, will be there just in case Mr Keruse is too shaky to drive him­self home.

Sky­dive Auck­land sales and mar- ket­ing man­ager Sam Allen says Mr Keruse will be the com­pany’s old­est tan­dem sky­diver. Ruby Leach, 90, com­pleted her dive in March.

Like all cus­tomers, Mr Keruse’s med­i­cal his­tory, in­clud­ing med­i­ca­tions and health con­di­tions, will be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, she says.

‘‘If he’s fit and healthy there’s ab­so­lutely no rea­son that he can’t tan­dem sky­dive. There’s a lot of older people that want to do some of these ad­ven­ture sports.’’

Mr Keruse says the para­chute jump will be the most ad­ven­tur­ous thing he’s ever done apart from the he­li­copter flight over Auck­land his grand­kids shouted him for his 95th birth­day in Septem­ber.

Sky­div­ing se­nior: 95-year-old Ge­orge Keruse is not the least bit afraid of his up­com­ing tan­dem sky­dive.

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