Daredevil grandmother Sarah Barnett took to the sky as she celebrated her 70th birthday by taking part in a sponsored hang-glide for Camp Simcha.
The fearless septuagenarian raised more than £750 for the charity which supports families coping with serious childhood illness.
Sarah was cheered on by her husband, daughter and son-in-law, sister-in-law and two of her three grandchildren, who all came to watch her make the leap off a cliff in Lewes, Sussex.
“I’m a bit of a height junkie and this is something I had always wanted to do, that thrill of literally jumping off a cliff,” says Sarah, from Edgware.
“I was the oldest by far among the group who were hang-gliding. When the instructor asked about any medical problems, I didn’t know where to start. I told him about my hips and my back and then I think he got the picture!”
After a tough walk up the cliff to the jump point, Sarah says her next hurdle was getting into the hang-gliding suit.
“There was no way I could do it on my own, the instructor pulled, my son-in-law pushed and my husband David kept me upright!”
Sarah, who was gliding attached to an instructor, had to run behind him off the cliff. She says: “No time to think, he told me to run and I did – only he was so tall that when he stood up my feet weren’t touching the ground. So there I was, with my little feet running along, pumping nothing but air.
“Then pure exhilaration, joy, wonder, amazement, we were flying, it was magnificent. With the wind in my face, it was pure freedom, a fantastic feeling like nothing else. I loved it. We dipped and turned, I could have stayed up there for hours.
“All too soon it was over and my grandchildren were hugging me and kissing me, saying ‘I can’t believe you’ve done it’.”
While Sarah says she will not be planning a follow-up for any subsequent birthdays, she is so pleased to have done it. “I want to thank everyone who supported me and donated to Camp Simcha. I hope this helps them in a small way to continue the wonderful work that they are doing.”
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