Legendary paratrooper Sandy Cortmann has received a hero’s welcome on his return to Aberdeen.
Sandy, 97, made headlines across the world after taking part in a tandem parachute jump last week – 75 years after participating in Operation Market Garden.
In 1944, at the age of 22, Sandy jumped into Arnhem in the Netherlands to take part in one of the Second World War’s most famous missions.
Now, after returning to Fairview House Care Home in the Bridge of Don, he was welcomed back by residents and staff who hosted a party for the man they described as “our hero”.
Among the guests were Lord Provost Barney Crockett and members of the Airborne Alliance.
Sandy was given a guard of honour as he returned to the home and was treated to Highland dancing from Gray’s School of Dance.
Modest Sandy paid tribute to the staff at Fairview who made his trip possible.
He said: “It’s been tremendous. It’s left me very overwhelmed. I’m just a humble private but this is more than I could have ever expected.
“To receive a welcome like this is amazing. There are no words which can describe how grateful I am to the people here.
“They are incredible. Saying thank you just doesn’t do it justice. I’m overwhelmed by everything they do for me. If I had a million dollars I’d give it straight to them because they deserve it.
“They are truly amazing.”
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Messages of support for Sandy have poured in from around the world – and he was sent a copy of a book about the operation by author Dilip Sarkar MBE.
He was joined on his trip to Arnhem – his first visit since the war – by care assistant Alana Davidson, 27, and his friend and fellow Airborne Alliance member Gary Haughton, 52.
Alana said: “Sandy seemed so at home when we were over there. He said he is still on top of the world. I’ve got so much respect for him and men like him who went through the same things.
“He has been amazing and I am super proud of him.
“There are not many 97-year-olds who could take on a trip like that – and he has been smiling the whole time.”
Gary added: “It’s been a brilliant experience for him.
“He’s so deserving of this welcome back. He is a real hero.”
Care home manager Arlene Campbell said: “It’s been a whole team effort to get this done and we are so proud of Sandy.
“He has a great relationship with everyone, especially Alana. We are like a big family here.”
Mr Crockett added: “Sandy has inspired numerous people across the country and across the Netherlands, as well as around the world.
“He is a fantastic man and he is a wonderful ambassador for the city.”