Eastbourne woman to make parachute jump on 90th birthday

Daphne Bernard and her daughter Tracy Strathern who are doing a parachute jump in aid of the DGH and Altzheimers research Daphne will be 90 when she makes the jump.  E09045N
Daphne Bernard and her daughter Tracy Strathern who are doing a parachute jump in aid of the DGH and Altzheimers research Daphne will be 90 when she makes the jump. E09045N
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A DAREDEVIL pensioner is planning to plunge out of an aeroplane for charity to mark her 90th birthday.

Plucky Daphne Bernard will complete a parachute jump on May 6 in memory of beloved husband Vic, who died after suffering with dementia and with who she enjoyed 61 happy years together.

And the Eastbourne-based octogenarian plans on raising as much cash for research into Alzheimer’s as possible during her sky dive having experienced first-hand the devastating affects of the illness.

“My wonderful husband Vic fell victim to this vile condition,” she told the Herald, “We were members of David Lloyd fitness club, playing tennis, badminton, socialising - our great love was ballroom dancing - but unfortunately when dementia strikes life changes – as much for you as the person afflicted.

“My Vic was robbed of the last years of his life but he was, to a degree, unaware. As you can imagine though , not being recognised by your soulmate is heart breaking.

“The Alzheimer’s Society is wonderful, making great advances in treatment and prevention, but research costs money – hence my leap into the unknown.”

Mrs Bernard will be joined on the jump by her daughter Tracey Strathern. The 55-year-old is hoping to raise money for Cuckmere Ward at the DGH but is well aware she will most likely end up being upstaged by her inspirational mum.

“It is her birthday treat,” she said, “She really wants to do it. She still goes to the gym three days a week, it is amazing really.”

Whether Mrs Strathern feels quite so happy with her mum come the big day remains to be seen. As Mrs Bernard explained, her daughter was roped in by the thrill-seeking pensioner. “She is only doing it because I wanted to,” she said. “I am getting excited about it but am not sure how much Tracey is looking forward to it.

“I have got a few sponsorship forms to take around to neighbours nearer the time and the people at David Lloyd have been sending details out to people at head office. I have never done anything like this before. We are getting a DVD done on the day. I went in a glider when I was 70 – but I have never jumped out of one.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor either Mrs Bernard or Mrs Strathern can do so through the Herald. Either ring 01323 414483 or email richard.morris@jpress.co.uk.