High-flying Horley town councillor David Powell was this week reported to have succeeded in his world record attempt to become the oldest person in the world to skydive from 30,000 ft.

Councillor Powell, who represents Horley Central Ward and is Reigate and Banstead borough councillor for Horley West, was reported as having jumped from a plane over West Tennessee in the USA yesterday.

At 78, he smashed the previous record set in 2012 by eight years. Coun Powell's tandem skydive, organised at an instructor’s base which is the only place where skydives from 30,000 ft can be carried out by civilians, saw him falling at times at 280 miles per hour.

He was making the world record jump to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War and to raise money for the Royal British Legion, of which he is a member of the Outwood branch.

His feat has raised more than £5,000 so far – including £500 donated by Dame Judi Dench, who lives in the area and has called him her hero.

Carol Fenton, speaking on behalf of Horley Town Council, said they all sent their “warmest congratulations” to the new world record holder, who is due back in the UK next week.

People who would like to make a donation to Coun Powell's fundraising can complete a sponsor form at Horley Town Council's offices at 92 Albert Road, Horley, or can give a donation online by visiting Coun Powell's 'Just Giving' webpage at: www.justgiving.com/david-percy-powell-rmp