Page 650 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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I thank Grant for sharing his story and his time with me and providing me with a few laughs on a very hot day. I also want to thank the Big Issue for their work providing opportunities for disadvantaged people in our community to help them feel empowered to help themselves and for giving me a chance to know more about the experience of vendors such as Grant.

Mr Graeme Windsor

MR DOSZPOT (Kurrajong) (5.17): In my role as shadow minister for seniors I cross paths with many accomplished older men and women still excelling at their chosen active sports. I rise tonight to speak of one such individual, Graeme Windsor. At 68 years of age Graeme is still participating in parachuting and skydiving after first taking up the sport almost 50 years ago. Graeme made his first jump as a 19-year-old in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea while on posting there with the commonwealth public service.

Over the years Graeme has successfully completed over 7,000 jumps and still manages around 100 jumps per year. This year he has increased his jump rate in preparation to compete in the Australian National Parachuting Championships in York, Western Australia next month. After returning from Papua New Guinea around 1970, Graeme jumped with the Canberra Skydivers Club and became an Australian Parachute Federation qualified senior instructor.

The club often had difficulties hiring aircraft, so Graeme and a few other like-minded enthusiasts bought their own Cessna 182. This turned out to be the start of a general aviation business which grew into a charter operation and a flying school operating at Canberra Airport. Graeme became a jump pilot in 1973.

When the Canberra Skydivers Club folded after losing the use of their drop zone due to a land subdivision, Graeme established Canberra Sport Parachute Centre, operating on weekends at a number of temporary locations until finally settling on an airfield at Collector in New South Wales, co-sharing facilities with a gliding club. Graeme at this time also became a glider tug pilot.

In 2000 Graeme was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to parachuting and skydiving and was recently made a Companion of Honour with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world air sports federation. In 2003, Graeme was elected first vice-president of the International Parachute Commission—IPC—and was then elected president in 2007. Following his appointment Graeme established a strategic plan for the IPC which would assist in providing direction for the organisation in the coming years. Graeme was president of the IPC for an unprecedented term of nine years.

Currently Graeme is one of the oldest competitors in Australia still competing in parachuting and skydiving competitions. Due to the limited competitive age classification groups, he is often pitted against much younger opponents at national parachuting and skydiving tournaments. Graeme has, on many occasions in the past, won the title of Australian champion in various categories. Though he is not winning as often these days, he still draws great satisfaction from participating.

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