Ernie, 86, prepped for skydive in memory of his wife

Ernie Schumann is doing a parachute jump for charity, in memory of his wife Margaret

Ernie Schumann is doing a parachute jump for charity, in memory of his wife Margaret - Credit: Archant

HE MAY be in his 80s, but the sky’s the limit for one pensioner who’s preparing to do his first parachute jump in memory of his wife.

Ernie Schumann, 86, will make the 13,000 foot leap in memory of late wife Margaret, who passed away last June after battling against heart disease.

The Hitchin resident is also fulfilling a lifelong dream – he wanted to join the Parachute Regiment when he was called up to the army in the 1940s but was unable to because of his eyesight.

Ernie, who says he is “not a bit” nervous about the jump, is raising money for the British Heart Foundation for his feat.

He told the Comet: “I was thinking about Margaret and just decided to do something.

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“When I was in the army, I wanted to join the paratroopers but as I wore glasses I couldn’t. I always wanted to do [a parachute jump] before, but when my wife was alive she didn’t like the idea. I’m doing this in memory of her.”

Ernie, who was married to Margaret for 62 years, is paying for the jump himself. So far, he has raised more than £1,000 for his charity.

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But he admits he’s surprised by the positive response he’s received.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

“People think I’m a little bit barmy, I think.”

The Queen Street resident will be supported by his family on the day of his jump, which is scheduled to take place in May.

Son Nick, 59, said: “He came to me and said ‘I’d really like to do this’.

“[People] think he’s mad! They have been very generous, and there have been lots of emails of encouragement. He didn’t dream in a million years he’d get reaction like this.”

Grandson Mark, 33, added: “I’m very proud.

“When he told me, I was surprised. I thought ‘blimey, if I can do that when I’m 86, I’d be very happy.

“I think it’s crazy, but fair play to him.”

To sponsor Ernie, visit

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