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The flying gran in 13,000ft jump

Staffordshire | News | Published:

She is now three decades past retirement age, but flying gran Kay Matthews had no qualms about plunging 13,000ft from the sky to help her favourite local charity.

She is now three decades past retirement age, but flying gran Kay Matthews had no qualms about plunging 13,000ft from the sky to help her favourite local charity.

The 91-year-old retired nurse, who is registered blind, leaped from an aeroplane to raise funds for Staffordshire Blind - becoming one of Britain's oldest-ever parachute jumpers.

In a stunt that would terrify most teenagers, widower Catherine, known to friends as Kay, plunged through clouds at 120mph before parachuting the final 5,000ft at Langer Airfield in Nottinghamshire.

She said: "People my age are always complaining and whingeing about pains in their shoulder and pains in their knees.

"I tell them they'd be all right if they just went for a walk and got on with it."

Kay, who lives in sheltered accommodation at Rowan Croft, Cannock, undertook her first parachute jump in March last year, raising £3,500 for the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association.

She had no hesitations about taking the plunge for a second time, but she currently has no aspirations to top 100-year-old Danish woman Estrid Geersten's record for the world's oldest tandem jump.

She said: "I wasn't nervous at all. At first we fell several hundred feet through the clouds, we were twisting around and I felt very sick.

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"After that it was very enjoyable, a lovely landing. They say I'm the oldest woman they've ever seen jumping from a plane. But I think I'm retiring from extreme sports now.

"I've been tired over the last few days - it must be the result of the jump."

Kay is registered blind and has just 30 per cent vision in her right eye.

She puts her continued fitness down to hiking trips in the Norwegian mountains and long morning and evening walks.

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She said: "I'm still very active. I go for a walk every morning and I do half a mile at night. I'd feel like a caged lion if I stayed inside."

Originally from Cork, grandmother Kay, who has two sons aged 65 and 66, moved to Cannock 17 years ago after being attracted by its close proximity to so many local theatres.

She is a frequent visitor to the Blind Centre, operated by Action for Blind People UK, at North Walls, Stafford, and decided to raise cash after learning they were struggling to maintain services. She hopes to raise £1,000.

Sponsors include friends, family and fellow parishioners at St James Church in Norton Canes. Michele Manville, of Action for Blind People Stafford said: "We are enormously grateful to Kay."

To make a donation, call them on 01785 254572.

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