A THRILL-SEEKING centenarian celebrated 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, put on a parachute once again to mark his recent 100th birthday with a charity skydive.

He had been due to take the 14,000ft leap on June 30, which was his birthday, but was “very disappointed” for it to be cancelled on the day due to the weather, and ended up jumping on Sunday.

Mr Hodgson took to the skies, along with his friend John Wharton, to raise money for Cancer Research UK and The Great North Air Ambulance.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just as I jumped that was when I felt it. It was great. It was just like coming down like a feather. It was beautiful - we could see for miles. He let me guide the chute as well.The landing was beautiful.”

The adrenaline junkie, who is the oldest person to ever complete a skydive at Flookburgh, said he did not feel nervous at all and is already planning another record-breaking jump in three years’ time.

He said: “The world record is 102 so I might go there at 103 if I’m in good health.”

Mr Hodgson also enjoyed a birthday party at Cockermouth Auction Restaurant on Saturday, where he handed over the £5,000 he has raised in sponsorship money to the two charities.

It was a busy week of celebrations for the adventurous pensioner, who also met his friends in Cockermouth “to put the world to rights” and went out for lunch with his family. Mr Hodgson said he had received around 75 birthday cards, including a “lovely” card from the Queen and one from Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions.

However, he was adamant he did not want any gifts - asking only for donations to the two charities. 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.

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, Midland and Scottish Railway, and was a chargehand locomotive driver at Sellafield for 12 years before he retired. He 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”.He describes himself as “independent”. He still drives a car and enjoys meeting up with his old friends at Cockermouth Auction.

When asked how he felt about turning 100, Mr Hodgson said: “I don’t feel 100. I feel 50.”