ALTHOUGH he has lived a remarkable life, Patrick Harris had never before attempted a sky-dive. Not until his 83rd year, that is.
That all changed after the Kerryman took the plunge from 11,500 thousand feet above an airfield at Hinton Sky Diving Centre in Northamptonshire.
Asked if he felt any pre-dive jitters, Patrick said: “Not really. I did a bit of amateur boxing a long time ago and the only way I could describe it is like feeling on edge going into the ring.
“But once you get in there, and the bell goes, you feel better.”
Patrick, who was born in Tralee, dismissed any fear of the dizzy heights.
After all, the retired steeplejack had spent many years on the drilling floor and the “crow’s nest” of oil rigs on the North Sea.
That’s not to mention two decades across America and his time as a marine during the Korean War where he was “up in the sky all the time”.
The adventure-seeker, who first moved to Britain at 16, lived in Lowestoft in Suffolk where he raised his son Sean who this year won a BAFTA for the Channel 4 drama series Southcliffe.
However Patrick, who resides at AbbeyField House, a care home in Hampstead Garden Suburb in north London, claims he didn’t tell any of his own friends or his famous son about his feat, which took place last month.
Speaking about his jump at the airfield near Oxford, Patrick described freefalling was a “fantastic” feeling and that spirits were high among the party of fellow jumpers.
“I was definitely the oldest, by maybe 40 or 50 years,” he added. “But I still feel physically fit. I walk a lot.”
Asked if he’d like to repeat the dive, he said: “Yeah, definitely. I’m doing one soon for Great Ormond Street hospital.”
Although Patrick didn’t have a fundraising target, he said his goal was to raise as much as possible.
“The sky’s the limit,” he joked.
Patrick is raising money for the North London Hospice. Donations to the centre can be made by visiting www.northlondonhospice.org