There’s something brave about Mary

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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AN 84-year old widow will make a 15,000 feet leap of faith to support cancer sufferers.

On Saturday, Mary Brooksbank of Brewery Road, Crowle, will sky-dive from a plane for the first time in over 45 years.

Mary was the first woman to gain her pilot’s licence in the whole of Wales, where she lived with her first husband in 1966. As part of her flying test she completed two solo parachute jumps and confessed that at the time she “loved it”.

She recalls also having to down a pint tankard of whisky after she gained her ‘wings’, surrounded by all her male co-pilots at Swansea where she trained.

She said: “Thankfully the barmaid took pity on me and mixed it with a good bit of water. I don’t think I’d have been walking straight otherwise.”

This time Mary will plunge in tandem at Hibaldstow Airfield. She has met her instructor and claims she has absolute trust in him.

Her sponsored jump is to raise vital funds for Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Scunthorpe, after Mary herself had a cancer scare earlier this year.

She told the Bells: “I’m quite fit for my age and tend not to worry. I believe strongly that when your time is up, it’s up. I’m looking forward to Saturday and just hope the weather will be fine. I’m to ring the airfield at 8am and all being well will do my jump at 10 o’clock.”

A nurse and midwife of 64 years, Mary gained her ‘wings’ so that she could fly frequently to Germany to negotiate on steel for her first husband’s engineering business.

“I was never a girlie type. I love to be outdoors and when I was younger was attracted to anything that was fast. I drove Jaguars, and when I was flying, I loved the freedom, the peace and quiet up there,” she said.

“I had my own little plane and when I took my mother up she said she felt it was another world above the clouds, she wanted to get out and walk on them.”

Since she moved to the Isle 28-years-ago with her second husband Peter, a keen dancer who she sadly lost in 2008, Mary has not flown.

Her failing eyesight does not allow her to drive either but she cheerfully enjoys the company of many friends, and walking her little dog Kim, who came for a ‘holiday’ with her two years ago and is now a permanent fixture with her own bedroom.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Mary in her brave feat on Saturday, should contact Lindsey Lodge Hospice tel. 01724 270835.

So far she has raised over £80 in sponsorship, and will pay for her jump as her donation to the cause.