A MAN diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost 50 years ago is said to have become Scotland’s oldest bungee jumper.
John Macdonald, from Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, celebrated his 80th birthday at the weekend by throwing himself 40 metres off Garry Bridge in Perthshire.
Mr Macdonald was diagnosed in 1964 while serving with the Royal Navy in Brazil. He said he hopes his “leap of faith” will encourage younger people who have diabetes to manage their situation by staying active.
He was joined by family and friends as he marked the birthday milestone with Highland Fling Bungee in Killiecrankie.
Mr Macdonald said: “I wasn’t afraid at all. I just wished I could have had a swim in the River Garry as well.
“I have had diabetes for 48 years and, when I was lying in hospital in Rio in 1964, I reckoned I would be very lucky to live past the age of 60.
“To do this then was special and I hope this gives younger ones who have diabetes something to encourage them a bit: an old guy like me managing to do a bungee jump.
“More and more young people are getting diabetes these days and it must be very, very hard for them. I think a lot of people do more sitting in front of computers now and maybe don’t get the same level of exercise.
“However, if you can control your diabetes and stay as active as you can, diabetes doesn’t have to stop you achieving things.”
Mr Macdonald said he keeps active by going for long walks and that he is planning a second bungee jump for his 85th birthday.
His type of diabetes is said to account for between five and 15% of all people with the condition and is treated by daily injections of insulin, alongside a healthy diet and exercise.
Murray Trail, spokesman for Highland Fling Bungee, said: “John is officially the most senior jumper we have had, by seven years, which makes him the most senior bungee jumper in Scotland to date.
“He is a truly inspirational guy and we will be delighted to welcome him back for his 85th.”
Before Mr Macdonald, the most senior participant in Scotland was 73-year-old cancer survivor Denis Gallagher, from Ayrshire, who took the leap in November 2011.