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Daring 88-year-old set to jump off a plane

A retired pensioner will be participating in a sponsored skydive next month to raise funds for her local bowls club and a charity which is close to her heart.


Grace Berrington, who founded the Thurmaston Bowls Club with her husband Jack, is hoping to raise over £2,000, which will be split between the Alzheimer’s Society and her bowls club, which is raising funds for a new pavilion at Elizabeth Park in Thurmaston, Leicester.


The club, which has been running for over 30 years, is hoping to raise around £47,000 in total for the new pavilion, which will enable the members to play regularly and have their own space. There are currently between 30-35 participants, who meet up to four times a week to play bowls and socialize.


Mother-of-two, Grace said: “I started playing once I retired and that was our social life. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a great way for people to exercise and meet others – so they don’t feel so isolated.”


Grace was born in Thurmaston and has lived there all her life. With a naturally bubbly personality she has always liked to get involved in the community and she said: “If there was something going on in Thurmaston I would be there.”


Alzheimer’s is also a cause close to her heart, as she personally knows someone who was diagnosed with the disease.

This is not the first time she will be jumping off a plane though. In 2007 she raised £2,104 for Rainbows with a sponsored skydive and describing the experience, she said: “I was on a high. I knew I had to do it once I made up my mind. I take everything in my stride and nothing really worries me.


“I signed my death warrant and all sorts before I got into the plane,” she jokes. “There were eight to 10 people sitting on the floor of the aircraft with their ‘toyboy’ at the back. When you go through them clouds it’s as if you’re in heaven.


“We had a picnic afterwards with some champagne – it was lovely. We’re hoping to so the same again.”


Talking about a particular memory from her last jump, she recalls getting some sponsorship money from her brother Joe, who was sadly on his deathbed suffering from cancer at the time. A few days after his death, his daughter presented Grace with some sponsorship money and a form signed by him, which read: ‘from Joe Noble – in heaven’. Grace said: “When I came down through those clouds I felt like I was there for Joe.”


Daring Grace has also expressed her interest in airplane wing walking and said if she is well enough, in the future she would like to be the oldest person to take part in a skydive.


This year her skydive will be taking place on July 28 at Langar Airfield. To sponsor Grace, email Elaine Chamberlain at or call 0116 2207121.



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