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WW2 veteran and Salvation Army member, 94, skydives for charity

World War Two veteran completes skydive 74 years after parachuting into Normandy on D-Day. 

94 year old Harry Read completed his first high level skydive since he parachuted into Normandy on 6th June 1944, D-Day, on Friday. He jumped from 10,000 feet to raise money for The Salvation Army’s Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery work.

He describes on his giving page how his faith motivated him: "You might well be asking where God comes in on this and I take the question seriously. This started out as a very modest desire for a low-level parachute jump which has, seemingly, been elevated to a high-profile event with the Red Devils team. However, every aspect of this proposal has been bathed in prayer and, when my normal common-sense has asked its questions, I still have the quiet, over-ruling assurance that, our heavenly Father is approving to the degree of being in charge. I don’t know where, or how, this will glorify him but he is telling me to trust him, and I will."

As a 20-year-old Wireless Operator in World War Two, Harry was part of the Parachute Brigade landing in France on D-Day.

He described how the two jumps were different: “On that morning at 00.50 hours I parachuted into Normandy and 30 seconds later I was on the ground. It was a very different experience to the one I just had. This was my first high level skydive and whilst I was a little nervous I have always enjoyed the thrill of parachuting.

"It was amazing to experience the freefall and then cruising down was simply beautiful. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience this at my age. Before I could take part in the jump my doctor assured me my heart is as healthy as a middle aged man”.

He had seen veterans taking part in skydives previously and after visiting the Normandy battlefields on an anniversary tour earlier this year he was inspired to look into one for himself. Ahead of a possible skydive in June 2019 at the 75-year anniversary of D-Day, Harry decided to try a dive closer to home in Salisbury.

As a life-long member of The Salvation Army, he served as the leader of The Salvation Army in both the UK and East Australia, and as Chief Secretary at The Salvation Army in Canada. 
Now a Great-Grandfather, he said: “At whatever age we are, we are more than capable of shrinking from something that we feel is beyond us. But, I believe we should not withdraw from a challenge – yesterday is not our best, our best is tomorrow. I look forward to the chance to jump again next year in Normandy.”

He has already raised over £3,500; the money raised from his skydive will go to support the work of The Salvation Army’s Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery Unit, in particular the international projects partnering with 11 countries to prevent trafficking and slavery at the source. Harry took part in the jump along with members of his family; his grand-daughters Lianne and Joanna and his great-grandson Josh. 

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