Jack Hake and his recently deceased wife of 73 years, Victoria, nicknamed "Smudge," did everything together. So, when the 93-year-old British veteran of World War II completed a 10,000-foot parachute jump, he brought her ashes with him.
The leap, which took place on Sunday, was no mere publicity stunt. According to CBS, Hake was fulfilling a promise he made to his wife on her deathbed: to raise money for new medical equipment in the hospital where she spent her final days.
Hake's fundraising page, made by one of his wife's nurses, says he was "completely devastated" when his wife passed away in August. He told the Mirror, "We’ve done it all - boating, fishing, cycling. You name it. We have never been apart."
Just before she died, Victoria told her husband that her life's only regret was that she couldn't repay the nurses who cared for her during the course of her debilitating nerve disease. That's when the pair decided that Hake would complete a charity sky dive -- and bring Victoria's ashes along for the ride.
At press time, Hake's leap had raised 738.50 pounds (almost $1,200). Hake hopes to eventually raise about $1,600. The money will be split between Quarter Jack Doctors Surgery in Wimborne and the center's nursing team that treats housebound patients. The money will be used to buy equipment such as blood pressure monitors, heart monitors and syringes.
Hake shrugs off any praise, telling the Mirror, "I’m not a hero -- I just did what my wife wanted me to do." He was equally nonchalant about his sky dive, telling CBS, "I don't see what all the fuss is about, I'd do it again."
But Hake isn't the only bold sky-diving senior to make recent headlines. Earlier this month, Vernon Maynard, of California, completed a 13,000-foot sky dive to celebrate his 100th birthday. He got written permission from his doctor before he made the jump.