Pals jump 11,000ft in charity skydive

Irene descends
Irene descends

When her three grand daughters did a tandem skydive, Longridge great, grandmother Irene Marwood decided she wanted to give it a go too.

The perky septuagenarian was not going to let her seven decades put her off, she just needed someone else to carry it out with her and when no immediate family members were forthcoming, Irene says she was delighted when friend and former Jones Stroud work colleague Lesley Houghton, from Grimsargh, offered to join her on the venture.

The pair, who each jumped from a height of around 11,000ft with the Black Knights Parachute Centre at Cockerham, have also raised more than £3,000 for the North West Air Ambulance.

Irene, of Parlick Avenue, explains that when they looked into where to carry out the skydive “it looked really exciting at Cockerham” and chose to do it for the air ambulance, believing it was a charity everyone could benefit from.

“They do a great job and it is a very worthwhile charity. They can help everybody if needed,” said the mother of Ian and Julie and the late Yvonne, grandmother of six and great grandmother of two, who was born in Goosnargh and has lived in Longridge for 52 years.

Retired for five years, she said: “I worked at Jones Stroud and that is where I met Lesley and I would like to thank everybody who has sponsered us. Jones Stroud, family, neighbours and friends.”

Accompanied by family members to cheer them on, Irene says they had to be there for 10am prior to one hour’s preparation on what to expect, followed by a period of “just waiting”.

She said: “Everything stopped for about one-and-a-half hours because of the wind. It was very sunny, but when you are up there, if the wind is too strong they won’t do it.

“We got into red and white suits just waited until we could get onto the plane. There are cameramen who dive separately and video you. Basically we just did what we were told to do and just jumped out!

“I wasn’t frightened at all because I knew I was going to do it. I thought you are there, so just get on with it and I enjoyed it.

“We each had a partner who we were strapped very tightly to and they do everything. They are wonderful and very good with you. I would like to thank the Black Knights too. I thought it was wonderful, I really did. I really enjoyed it.”

For the moment Irene says she has no further daredevil plans for the future, adding: “I am quite happy with that for the time being. I like walking. I have a little caravan in Kendal and I walk around there.”

Lesley, who lives in Grimsargh, also enjoyed the skydive and said: “It was very good and I was quite surprised that I wasn’t more nervous. I went into it with the right mind to enjoy it and I did enjoy it.” She, too, would like to thank everyone at Jones Stroud - colleagues, office staff and management, also Parkinson and Hartley.