Skydive was ‘scary enough’ for daredevil Barbara, 78

Back on solid ground; Barbara with her three grandchildren.

Back on solid ground; Barbara with her three grandchildren. - Credit: Archant

‘Well done, Barbara, you did it!’

That was the congratulatory message from family and friends to 78-year-old Sidmouth grandmother Barbara Mence, who overcame fear last week to make a successful sponsored 15,000-foot skydive for Alzheimer’s Research.

The very thought had petrified her, but the tandem jump was not as bad as she had feared.

“It was plenty scary enough,”said Barbara.

“So I wouldn’t say I am keen to do it again!

“Swinging around up there in the sky on the end of a parachute made me feel a bit sick.

“I had quite a hard landing and afterwards it took me about four hours to get my hearing back.

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“But the worst part was sitting on the edge of the plane ready to jump with nothing underneath.”

The skydive, which raised well over £4,000 for Alzheimer’s research - far in excess of Barbara’s initial target - was supported by a wide spread of donations, including a £300 share in a book sale held by Branscombe and Sidmouth book clubs.

“My thanks to them all,” she said.

Barbara felt driven to ‘do something’ for Alzheimer’s Research having seen the effect the condition has had on her husband, Alan, who was a family doctor in Birmingham for 30 years.

“My feeling now is one of tremendous relief that I did it for such a worthwhile cause - despite my fear of jumping out of a plane at my age,” she said.