Graham plans to take the plunge with a 12,000 ft skydive in 2022

Graham plans to take the plunge with a 12,000 ft skydive in 2022

77-year-old Graham Costiff has lived at Churchill’s Laurel Lodge in Carshalton for four years with his wife Helen, and is going to make a New Year’s Resolution that is more daring than most...

In March 2022 he is planning a tandem skydive with his daughter Emma and grandson Louis, as part of Louis’ 21st birthday celebrations. The jump will take place at Headcorn Aerodrome near Ashford, where he’ll be exiting the aeroplane at a height of 12,000 ft and experiencing 60 seconds of freefall before opening the parachute and coming down to land.

Graham is a former London firefighter, and has some experience of parachuting in his younger days. He and his blue watch colleagues from Mitcham Fire Station did a parachute jump together back in the 1980s, although it was slightly different as it was a solo jump from a lower height of 3,000 ft. Around that time he also did a bungee jump from a 2,000 ft crane in Lake Windermere, so he was quite the adrenaline junkie, and is now rediscovering his adventurous streak.

He says: “When I did my first parachute jump all those years ago, I loved it so much that I did another a couple of weeks later – I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t a dream and that I could do it again! When I was driving to the aerodrome the second time a bit of debris from a lorry smashed my car windscreen, but I wasn’t deterred and carried on anyway. It rained heavily on my drive home and I got soaking wet through my open windscreen – it was certainly a memorable experience!”

Looking forward to his next jump he says: “It’s been rescheduled a couple of times due to unsuitable weather conditions, so I can’t wait to get it done. Jumping from that height is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I couldn’t watch my daughter and grandson do it without joining them too. It’s frightening when you initially jump out of the aircraft, but once you let go it’s fantastic!”