Keith Whitehead, dubbed ‘the flying farmer’, completed a 12,000ft skydive at Swansea airport at the age of 74. He has raised more than £3,000, with donations still coming in.
“I did the jump with Dave Burrows and John Kubale, who are friends with my neighbour,” Keith said. “They asked if I wanted to do a skydive with them, and I said yes. They’re good lads, they were really up for it.”
Keith was forced to give up farming when he became unwell. The doctor diagnosed him with organophosphate poisoning and ME, which left him tired and unable to manage the workload.
He explained: “Managing my finances and paying the mortgage became difficult and this didn’t help my anxiety. My wife, Jill, and I eventually decided our only option was to put the house up for sale. Thankfully, it was around this time that someone put me in touch with R.A.B.I. They helped with domestic bills and since then have continued to support us in many ways.”
Keith now feels in a position to give something back to the charity that helped him when he was at his lowest.
For the past ten years, Keith and Jill have been members of the Ceredigion committee and they often raise funds through table top sales. Keith also makes cake-stands and clocks to sell. He decided he wanted to do something else to raise funds, and the opportunity to do a skydive seemed a perfect fit.
Keith said: “When we got up in the plane, Dave and John said I had to go first because they thought I’d back out, but I wasn’t going to. I wanted to give R.A.B.I as much as I could.
“The scariest part is when you slide out of the plane. You hit the turbulence and you don’t know where anything is. Then suddenly everything’s calm and you slowly float down. It was a very enjoyable experience.”
If you would like to make a donation, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/flyingfarmer
Pictured at the top of the page are Dave Burrows, Keith Whitehead, and John Kubale. Pictured in the article is Keith Whitehead mid-skydive.