A THRILL-seeking centenarian will celebrate his milestone birthday by throwing himself from a plane – 74 years after he last fell from the skies as a paratrooper in the army.

Thomas Hodgson, who lives in Cleator Moor, will put on a parachute once again to mark his upcoming 100th birthday with a charity skydive next month.

Mr Hodgson will take the 8,000 foot leap on June 28, along with his friend John Wharton, to raise money for Cancer Research UK and The Great North Air Ambulance.

He said: “It’s the last thing on my bucket list. It’s that long since I have jumped out of a plane and these charities are worth supporting.”

When asked how his family felt about the skydive, the adrenaline junkie said: “They’re not bothered. They know I’ll do it because I’m strong-willed.”

Mr Hodgson was born in Rowrah and grew up in Moor Row. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1940 at the age of 19. He worked on the railways and when the army asked for parachuting volunteers, he jumped at the chance - literally!

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He met his wife Mary in 1936 and the couple were wed on February 26, 1943 at St Leonard’s Church in Cleator.

After leaving the army, Mr Hodgson worked on the London, Midlands and Scottish railways, and was a chargehand locomotive driver at Sellafield for 12 years before he retired.

Mr Hodgson was widowed 25 years ago and continues to visit his wife’s final resting place at St Leonard’s twice a week to “have a crack”.

The adventurous pensioner describes himself as “independent”. He still drives a car and enjoys meeting up with his old friends at Cockermouth Auction, to “put the world to rights”.

As well as skydiving his way into triple figures, the great-grandfather will also host a100th birthday party and is asking for donations to the two charities in lieu of gifts.

When asked about the secret to his longevity, Mr Hodgson said: “Treat everything fairly as it comes along. Man or woman, treat them fairly. Have no enemies.

“Never look back, always forward. There’s always something better ahead.”