IF you see Bill Sutherland in and around Harthill he will be guaranteed to be smiling.
That is because the 91-year-old has recently completed the achievement of a lifetime - a tandem paraglide.
He soared above the Italian Alps and showed that age really is just a number and shouldn’t prevent you from fulfilling your dreams.
“It was a wonderfully joyous experience,” said Bill, encouraging everyone to paraglide if they get the chance.
“Although it seems frightening at first, the excitement takes over and it is easier than getting on your local bus.”
Bill is a regular visitor to Cervinia in the Italian Alps and the village has now become a second home to him. The grandfather was a regular skiier in the winter months, but now holidays there during the summer months and visits his friends.
On his latest visit he saw his friend when they returned from a paraglide and their excitement made him immediately wanted to sign up for the experience.
Bill and his daughter Mary travelled deep into the Italian mountains to glide down a valley from 1,880 metres earlier this month.
Bill said: “They came and collected me and my daughter, Mary and drove us into the valley.”
“They then took us very high up the mountain tracks where we would take off.”
“A lot of people gathered around. It was very exciting.”
“They got me strapped up with an instructor who owns the firm and ran through the emergency procedure.”
“You are meant to run off the edge to take off, but the organisers thought I couldn’t run, so two men ran either side and chucked us off.”
“It was wonderfully joyous. It was a magnificent 20 minutes up there, it was beyond belief.”
“It’s a sort of funny freedom that you seem to feel, especially being among the mountains.”
“When we landed I collapsed like a baby in a fit of giggles.”
“I’m still smiling about it now.”
Although Bill believes his achievements are nothing out of the ordinary, his family are extremely proud of what he has done.