100 year old Guinness customer
skydives for charity

08 August 2018

Sydney Crossland skydived over South Wiltshire last week to celebrate his 100th birthday, as well as raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Born on 27th July 1918 in Winchester, Guinness customer Sydney Crossland was not your typical nonagenarian – he’s white water rafted in Africa, snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef and experienced the thrill of a bungee jump. However, there was one more adrenaline-fuelled lifelong dream that Sydney wanted to fulfil – a tandem parachute jump.

 

“I have always wanted to do a parachute jump, but I couldn’t as my knee was injured during the war.” 

A life dedicated to helping good causes

Before residing in Rivermead Court, Emsworth, Sydney worked across Africa as an engineer and became very passionate about game conservation.  He worked on Operation Noah, a wildlife rescue mission along the Zambezi River, saving over 6,000 endangered animals from severe floods caused by the construction of the giant Kariba Dam, relocating the rescued animals to Matusadona National Park.

Sydney has spent his life helping good causes, so when a family friend brought up their recent work at Great Ormond Street Hospital, he decided to turn his skydiving challenge into a fundraising opportunity for the renowned children’s hospital. A few months ago, he set up a JustGiving page, to which over 1,000 people have donated, so far raising over £6,000.

 

“All of a sudden, people shared the word and hundreds of donations came in showing that if we all make a small difference it adds up to a big change!” 

Birthday celebrations

Sydney Crossland with the Mayor & Mayoress from HavantBefore the jump, Guinness Care staff at Rivermead Court hosted a party for Sydney to celebrate his centenary with family and friends, as well as The Mayor and Mayoress of Havant. He was presented with a special 100 Club award and a special gift to celebrate his landmark birthday.

So what’s next for Sydney? The current world record for the oldest tandem skydive is currently held by Verdun Hayes, aged 101. Is Sydney tempted to break the record next year? He said he definitely isn’t ruling it out!

Watch Sydney’s skydive

On Thursday 2 August, Sydney completed the jump from a height of 7,000 feet, reaching speeds of 120mph. Take a look at his skydive: