An 89 year-old war veteran is raising money for the London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled - also known as the Taxi Charity - by plunging thousands of feet out of a plane.
Edward ‘Ted’ Pieri, who turns 90 next May, from Erith near Dartford, gained his wings in 1944 with the 250 Light Composite Company 1st Airborne division but has not done a parachute jump for 70 years. Now the opportunity to do a tandem jump with the Red Devils has inspired Ted to take the leap.
“I have been wanting to do a parachute jump again for some time now. Ideally I would have liked to jump on my own as I had done during the war, however I recognise this is not possible at my age.
“My recent involvement with the Taxi Charity has increased my enthusiasm to do this jump and give something back for all they have done,” said Ted.
Ted has recently taken part in the Taxi Charity’s annual seaside visit to Worthing, the War and Peace event in Folkestone and joined other veterans on a trip to the Netherlands to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Arnhem.
Ted said: “Until this year I had not come into contact with or known about the work of the Taxi Charity. I had the very great pleasure to be invited on their trip to Arnhem earlier this year.
“Not only were the people running the events a credit to the charity, the whole event was a great life experience. It was superbly managed; nothing seemed to be left to chance.
“At each event I have had a different taxi driver who hosted and looked after me throughout. Each showed a wonderful professional attitude and they go out of their way to do as much as they can. They do this in their own time; they are very special people.
“I hope to do whatever I can to raise some money towards the Taxi Charity and help in some small way to keep their brilliant work going.”
Weather permitting, Ted’s parachute jump will take place on 24 September 2015 at the Old Sarum Airfield near Salisbury, the date coinciding with the 71st anniversary of the first Battle of Arnhem (17–26 September 1944), where there the Allies suffered heavy losses.
Taxi Charity Vice-President, Dick Goodwin, said: “We are delighted and honoured that Ted’s going to jump for our benefit, to highlight the work of our charity and to raise funds for our outings and lunches. We wish him every success on the day. Thank you Ted!"
Ted is jumping with The Red Devils, the official parachute display team of The Parachute Regiment and the British Army. He can be sponsored at his BT MyDonate page https://mydonate.bt.com/events/tedpieriparachutejump/245030