The nan taking to the skies for her 90th birthday
Proving that you're only as old as you feel, daredevil Patricia Baker is preparing to jump from a plane at 15,000 feet, after her 90th birthday celebrations were put on hold back in June because of Covid-19.
In a bid to raise money for causes close to her heart, Patricia, from Farrington, plans to raise her fundraising efforts by skydiving from a plane this weekend.
With the support of her three children, Carole, Michael and Stephen, 90-year-old Patricia is hoping to raise enough money to help develop a sensory room at Hillside specialist school, which supports her disabled grandchild Max.
And she will also be donating to Chorley's Derian House - a children's hospice ensuring care for young people with life limiting illnesses.
Pat Baker, 90, from Farington, Leyland, said: “My friend had her 90th birthday a week before me in July and she was told me about making a bucket list with all the things she wanted to do. She asked me what mine was and I realised I’d not thought about it. I had a think and decided to do one big thing instead.
“I have always wanted to sky dive and I’m not frightened of heights, but the chance just never came up. I’ve been up in a hot air balloon and been paragliding before but I’ve never been up to 15,000ft before, which is what this is.
“I’m not scared about Sunday. I feel a bit apprehensive and when I get up there I don’t know what I’ll feel.
“A lot of people think I’m crackers. The head doctor at my surgery wouldn’t sign off the medical form so I had to go to Black Knights Skydiving Centre and complete a fitness test before going back and finally one of the other doctors signed me off.
“I’ve always been adventurous and we’re a very sporty family. I do 50 sit ups every single morning and I’ve always exercised daily – it’s the secret to a long and healthy life. My husband was a yoga teacher and my bowling involves a lot of walking and stretching.
“I’m raising money for Derian House and also Hillside Specialist School in Longridge where my great grandson goes because I love children. The children at Derian don’t get to have a full life like I’ve had and I think the work that the staff do there is fantastic.”
Black Knights skydiving centre is based in Lancaster and offers tandem skydives at both 11,000 and 15,000 feet.
Her daughter Carole Green, from Penwortham, said the family 'couldn't belive it' when mother Patricia first told them of the news that she would be freeflalling for a minute out of a moving plane.
She said: "It was coming up to her birthday and she didn't know what to do, then all of a sudden she told me that she'd always wanted to skydive - I just looked at her and was so shocked.
"I took her to the skydive centre where they hung her from the ceiling and ran through safety precautions with her and a health check. They said she was fit enough to take part in a sky dive, signed her consent form which we then took to the doctors for him to sign.
"She had originally booked it for her 90th birthday but lockdown restrictions were tightened at the end of June so it was put on hold and she has been shielding. She wanted to raise money for two causes that are important to her. Hillside school is amazing with my grandchild Max who is non-verbal and they have amazing facilities. This money will help go towards their new sensory room."
Defying the odds and releasing her inner youth is the mission for Patricia, who hopes to continue raising money via her Justgiving page.
Daughter Carole added: "We are all so proud of her and she is so excited to do it. We think it is absolutely phenomenal but unfortunately because of the restrictions, only me and my two brothers can go and watch her do the skydive."
Caroline Taylor, Communications and Marketing Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We see some truly amazing fundraising challenges here at Derian House but what Patricia is doing is simply inspirational. What a legend!
“At Derian House we look after more than 400 babies, children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses, making sure they get the very best care and have the opportunity to create precious memories with their families.
"It is only down to the generosity of supporters such as Pat that we are able to offer this service and on behalf of all of our children and their families we are truly grateful.”
So far, donations are sitting at 93 per cent of their £500 target via the Justgiving page, resulting in over £1,000 raised including other donations. To donate, click HERE.