Thursday 23 February 2017

'Chance of a lifetime' - Great-grandmother takes up skydiving at age of 89

Karrie Gillett

Joan Wells, 89, a great-grandmother who is believed to be the oldest person in Scotland to have done a skydive, describing the jump as
Joan Wells, 89, a great-grandmother who is believed to be the oldest person in Scotland to have done a skydive, describing the jump as "a chance of a lifetime" Credit: Blythswood Care/PA Wire
Joan Wells, 89, a great-grandmother who is believed to be the oldest person in Scotland to have done a skydive, describing the jump as "a chance of a lifetime" Credit: Blythswood Care/PA Wire
Joan Wells, 89, a great-grandmother who is believed to be the oldest person in Scotland to have done a skydive, describing the jump as "a chance of a lifetime" Credit: Blythswood Care/PA Wire

A great-grandmother who decided to try skydiving for the first time aged 89 has described the jump as "a chance of a lifetime".

Joan Wells, from Dornoch in the Highlands, volunteers for the charity Blythswood Care and put herself forward for the skydive when the opportunity to do an abseil challenge fell through.

The great-grandmother of four, who is believed to be the oldest person in Scotland to have done a skydive, said she took part in the 10,000ft jump because she had never done one before.

Speaking afterwards, she said: "It was very interesting, I sort of enjoyed it - it was a new experience but it was over so quick that you don't really have time to think about it.

"I got a good look at the view in the freefall bit and my instructor was excellent and steered us round so I could get a good view - it was beautiful countryside.

"What went through my head when we were up in the sky was 'good heavens, what am I doing here?'.

"It was all very quick, the next thing I was sitting on the edge of the plane and then we were gone."

Explaining how she became involved in the challenge, she said: "About three years ago we were supposed to be doing an abseil to raise funds and then for one reason or another it was cancelled.

"We were talking about what we should do the next time and I have a feeling that it was me who foolishly said, 'what about a skydive?'.

"So, of course I had to go for it after that. It's a chance of a lifetime really."

She travelled to Fife on Friday to complete the tandem jump to raise funds for the charity where she has volunteered for 18 years.

The money donated online at www.virginmoneygiving.com/blythswoodjoan will go towards supporting an after-school care project for children in Romania.

She added: "Everyone keeps asking me if I would do it again and quite honestly I don't know.

"It would very much depend on what it was for, but having done it once I think I could do it again, although I am not sure I would rush to."

James Campbell, the charity's chief executive, said: "We admire our supporters who faithfully raise funds for the work of Blythswood Care and were amazed when one of our oldest volunteers Joan Wells - 90-years-old soon - asked if she could do a skydive to raise funds.

"Although she received medical clearance for the jump, we were very relieved to see her land safely back on the ground."

Press Association

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