Jumping into the record books

A CANCER survivor from Girvan raised over £1000 by becoming the oldest bungee jumper in Scotland - at 73 years of age.

The retired cancer survivor has raised almost £1000 for care of the disease by becoming the oldest bungee jumper in Scotland.

Former mechanic and multiple bike champion, Denis Gallagher, was shocked to discover he had bowel cancer six years ago when attending a routine medical for a bike license.

However, the adrenaline-loving pensioner, given the all-clear in 2010, has now realised a dream he has had for over thirty years.

Just over a week ago, Gallagher from Girvan leapt 155ft at 50mph from Highland Fling Bungee’s state-of-the-art bungee pod at Garry Bridge near Killiecrankie in Perthshire.

Cheered on by family, friends and wife Phyllis, the evergreen OAP (complete with doctor’s line) officially became the oldest person to bungee jump in Scotland.

Now, as he gathers together the proceeds for Cancer Support Ayrshire, he is hoping to do it again - if he can rope in a few of his septuagenarian pals.

“I am definitely considering doing it again and I am trying to get a few of my friends this time,” said adventure-loving Gallagher, who has also tried para-gliding and diving.

“I first saw a film of people bunjee jumping in New Zealand about thirty years ago.

“I was at the cinema in Glasgow with my brother and it was on a Pathe Newsreel.

“At the time, I remember thinking: ‘if I ever get the chance, I am going to do that.’

“Obviously, it was a massive shock when I was told I had cancer but when I got the all-clear last year, I decided to give it a go.

“I heard you could now bungee jump in Scotland, which is great because I don’t think I would have gone to New Zealand.

“It was fantastic and, when all the proceeds are gathered in, I reckon we will have over £900 for the charity.”

Since opening in May 2011, Highland Fling Bungee has counted over 3800 jumpers worldwide but yesterday confirmed Gallagher as officially the most senior.

For insurance and health reasons, the company requires all over 65s to present a valid doctor’s line, which Gallagher- and his GP- happily supplied.

A company spokesman said yesterday: “We have now examined the data and Denis is definitely the eldest jumper we’ve had so far, although the age-range has surprised us, in a positive sense.

“We’ve had quite a few jumpers of a more mature vintage and it is really encouraging to see so many people still remaining active and challenging themselves to keep trying new things.”

As well as planning another bungee jump, Gallagher, who still competes in classic motorbikes, has been looking at the possibility of a fresh challenge.

“I’ve had a look at wing-walking but I am not sure yet,” he said.

“When I told my wife about the bungee jumping, she just shook her head but, after 54 years of marriage, she knows what I am like.

“I am not one of those people to wrap myself in cotton wool or to look back and wish I had done something but never did.

“I like a challenge and, although I felt a bit like an old fogey in a kindergarten when I did the bungee jump, I was made to feel really comfortable and loved it.”