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London solicitor celebrates 80th birthday by going water skiing

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Irving Stone has been practising the sport since 1962, despite being told 18 years ago to give it up for the sake of his health.

Irving Stone

A London solicitor celebrated his 80th birthday by taking to the lake and going water skiing.

Irving Stone, nicknamed ‘Irv the Swerve’, took up the sport in 1962 and is a former British over-55 slalom record holder.

Mr Stone, from Hampstead, is now believed to be the oldest water skier in the country and “certainly the oldest to practise the sport at a high level”, British Water Ski and Wakeboard said.

He travelled up to South Lake near St Neots in Cambridge on Friday and was cheered on by friends and family.

However, 18 years ago he was told to quit skiing entirely after being diagnosed with macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that causes loss of vision. He was told at the time he should not ski again, for fear of falling and damaging his sight further.

Irving has been water skiing since 1962 (British Water Ski & Wakeboard)

However, he only took the advice for a few months, before “nearly going mad” and getting back on the water.

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When he returned to the dock, Mr Stone said: “It’s good for you. I feel fit afterwards. I love it. It’s fantastic. I never want to stop.”

Irving’s coach and director of DAMS Watersports, Damien Ackerer, says the octogenarian is a “true legend on the water”.

The boat travelled at 32mph (52kph), with Mr Stone hanging on the end of a rope. He still practises slalom, which involves using a single ski to virage across the boat wakes from side to side.

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