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Ted Pieri, 89, jumps out of plane with Red Devils to raise money for Taxi charity

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An 89-year-old Second World War veteran has completed a parachute jump for charity, 71 years after last leaping out of a plane.

Edward “Ted” Pieri last leapt from a plane in 1944 with the 250 Light Composite Company 1st Airborne. Now he has fulfilled his dream of jumping from a plane again with the Red Devils.

The grandfather-of-two, from Ightham Road, Erith, said: “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 that is wasn’t possible at my age.

Ted makes his leap with the Red Devils
Ted makes his leap with the Red Devils

“I thoroughly enjoyed the jump, as well as the great hospitality shown by the Red Devils. They were a marvellous credit to their Regiment and to themselves, making everyone feel at ease throughout the day.

“They were a wonderful set of lads and they made me feel immensely proud to be part of the airborne forces.”

So far Ted has raised more than £800, but he hopes to reach £1,000 to support the work of The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled, known as Taxi, who have taken him on trips to Worthing, Folkestone and the Netherlands to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Arnhem.

To fund these outings the charity relies on donations and volunteer license taxi drivers who can provide their taxis and time for free.

He took the leap at the Old Sarum Airfield near Salisbury with the official parachute display team of the Parachute Regiment and the British Army, the Red Devils.

Ted volunteered for the Royal Army Service Corp in 1943. His company, the 252, were integrated into 250 Light Composite Company 1st Airborne division the same year. He took a motorcycle course in Folkestone in 1944 and went to Lincoln as a dispatch rider. While he was there Ted volunteered for parachute training and was awarded his wings.

Ted’s son, Simon Pieri, said: “He loved the experience during the war. He was looking forward to the jump for a long time.”

To donate visit mydonate.bt.com/events/tedpieriparachutejump/245030. To find out more about the Taxi Charity, visit www.taxicharity.org

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