84-year-old Samoan raises money by skydiving
For most people who have notched up 84 years in life, memories of a life lived well and grandchildren provide excitement enough.
But a Samoan maritime pioneer, Captain George Clarke, decided it was the perfect time to jump 13,000 feet out of a plane in order to raise money for charity.
Mr. Clarke was the first Samoan Master Mariner as Captain to helm international ships.
A family friend, Oloipola Terrence Betham, said that the jump, which took place in Auckland, was even for a good cause; more than $2,000 was raised for the Blind Foundation.
Oloipola said Mr. Clarke's charity work with the Blind Foundation springs from the fact that his late wife had eye problems and the many Samoans living in New Zealand with eye problems who need treatment.
In late 2018, Mr. Clarke was honoured as one of the recipients of the Samoa College Old Pupils Association (S.C.O.P.A) New Zealand ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ for his service in the maritime arena.
Mr. Clarke was the second Samoa College Head Boy in 1954. His class was the school's second ever intake after Samoa College was established in 1953.
Growing up in Samoa, the young lad from Lotopa used to watch on as two Union Company vessels, the MV Matua and the MV Tofua docked in port. But he never dreamt that one day he would be the first Samoan to hold a foreign master's ticket, or to serve as Chief Officer and Master on some of the same big ships that sailed around the globe.
Mr. Clarke currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand, but still has a home in Lotopa at which he frequently holidays.