When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Dibden Purlieu pensioner Tony 'The Legend' Welland turns into adrenaline junky with love of bungee jumping
These are the dramatic images that show why daredevil grandad Tony Welland is known as The Legend.
At an age when most people are putting their feet up and looking forward to taking life easy, 77-year-old Tony has become one of the world’s oldest bungee jumpers.
He has already completed the two tallest jumps – the 440ft Nevis Bungee, in Queenstown, New Zealand, and the 764ft Macau Tower, in China.
Tony, an insurance assessor from Dibden Purlieu, took up the sport two years ago.
He said: “My wife and I were visiting relatives in New Zealand. My son had already done the Nevis Bungee jump and suggested I had a go.
“It gave me a big adrenalin rush and made me decide to do some research.”
Tony opted to tackle the biggest jump in the world and two years later found himself standing on the edge of the Macau Tower.
Armed with nerves of steel he gazed down at the roads and buildings far below before leaping into the void. “That was far more difficult than the one in New Zealand,” he said.
“I was a bit more apprehensive and thought ‘what am I doing here?’ But I was raising money for a children’s charity and didn’t want to back out.”
Despite being decades older than many of his fellow enthusiasts Tony is still a comparatively young man in the world of bungee jumping. The record is held by Mohr Keet, who leapt 708ft off a bridge in South Africa at the age of 96.
Tony said his two jumps gave him a buzz that lasted for 48 hours. He added: “I did them for the thrill. You never, ever think ‘I might not survive this’. When you’re there you want to do it.”
Tony’s other sport is the comparatively sedate pastime of golf. He is competitions secretary at Bramshott Hill Golf Club, based at Dibden Golf Centre. Owned by New Forest District Council, the centre is managed by Mytime Active.
General manager Roger Tomey said Tony’s exploits had earned him the nickname The Legend.
He added: “He’s incredible – there are many youngsters who wouldn’t attempt to do that sort of thing. He’s a great role model and we’re all really proud of him.”