Mary’s 15,000 feet, 85th birthday jump

84-year-old former pilot Mary Brooksbank, of Brewery Road, Crowle, is looking forward to taking part in a charity sky dive.  Picture: Liz Mockler E1393LM

84-year-old former pilot Mary Brooksbank, of Brewery Road, Crowle, is looking forward to taking part in a charity sky dive. Picture: Liz Mockler E1393LM

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Last month, 84-year old daredevil Mary Brooksbank, of Crowle, took a sky-dive from 15,000 feet and raised over £800 for a local charity.

And now, for her eighty-fifth birthday on August 28 this year, the intrepid widow is planning to do it all over again!

Mrs Brooksbank, of Brewery Road, is a former pilot and made parachute jumps many times in the past.

But her April jump, in tandem, was her first in over 45 years and was such a thrill, she said, that repeating the experience will be her birthday present to herself in the summer.

“It was an absolute thrill and it brought back happy memories for me,” she told the Bells from her home this week.

“I had no aches or pains afterwards but felt full of energy. I can’t wait to do it again.”

She continued: “I was treated like royalty and if the Queen herself was to go I doubt she could be treated any better.”

Mrs Brooksbank hopes to return to the same site, Hibaldstow Airfield, for her birthday jump, and said if people would like to sponsor her again then she would be pleased to donate more money to Lindsey Lodge Hospice.

The highly active pensioner has lived ‘in the fast lane’ since being a young woman.

She was the first woman to gain her pilot’s licence in the whole of Wales in 1966. At that time she lived in Wales with her first husband and had to do two solo parachute jumps as part of her flying test.

And her strong spirit even won through when she had to down a pint of whisky, surrounded by her male counterparts, after gaining her ‘wings’ at Swansea.

Last year Mary, who also worked as a nurse and midwife for 64 years, had a cancer scare. But instead of taking things easy the experience just made her more determined to live life to the full.

She first learned to pilot so that she could fly to Germany and negotiate on steel for her then husband, who had an engineering business.

Then she got her own little plane and would fly for pleasure, to enjoy the freedom and the quiet of the skies, she said.

She has lived in the Isle for 28 years, and became a widow five years ago, after losing her second husband Peter.

Her April parachute jump followed two cancellations, but Mrs Brooksbank hopes all will be fine for her August plunge.