JOHN “LOFTY” THOMAS (Great Britain) started skydiving in 1967. In 1969 he took his master rigger rating in the USA with Ted Strong. Soon after that accomplishment, he formed the Thomas Sports Equipment Company in England. Along with Ronnie O’Brien, he developed the bag deployment system which is still in use today. Over the years he has worked in many films supplying parachute equipment, giving advice and even occasionally appearing in them. He was an active member of the British Parachute Association for approximately 25 years. During those years, he served on the council committee and was the vice chairman and chairman. As Head of Delegation, he took various British competition teams all over the world. Lofty has been an inspiration to many skydivers of all abilities and levels. He was always willing to make time to listen to them and to offer encouragement and support.