Eastbourne pensioner’s charity paraglide challenge

Dorothy Margison
Dorothy Margison

AN 82-YEAR-old great grandmother will take to the skies in a tandem paraglide to raise vital funds for Sussex Air Ambulance.

Retired chiropodist Dorothy Margison, from St Anthonys Avenue, will take off from 480ft-high Mount Caburn near Lewes on June 19.

The adventurous octogenarian came up with the amazing challenge to mark the second anniversary of her late husband Leonard’s death.

She said, “My grandson and I were talking about things we haven’t done but would like to do.

“I’ve already been around the world on a cargo boat and to the Rio carnival and paragliding was next on my list.

“If my husband was still alive he would say, ‘you can do it’. Everything I wanted to do, he always said I could do it.”

Dorothy, who has eight great grand-children, also has the support of fellow members of the Battle and Eastbourne Speakers Clubs including Dec Cluskey, founder of 60s band The Bachelors.

She decided to raise funds for the Sussex Air Ambulance, which relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no National Lottery funding.

She added, “I thought that if I was launching into mid-air I might as well do it for charity.

“I may need the helicopter when I get to the bottom!

“Sussex Air Ambulance does great work and the hospitals are so far away now and there’s so much traffic the air ambulances are vital.”

Jess Cox is a senior instructor at Sussex Hang Gliding and Paragliding at Beddingham, where Dorothy will take to the sky.

She said, “We have a couple of elderly men in the club who fly, but we’ve never had a lady of this age that I can remember.

“It’s very rare and unique. She sounds like an amazing lady.”

The oldest female to paraglide tandem is Margaret Mackenzie McAlpine, from the UK, who was 100 years and one day old when she completed the challenge in Karaoglanoglu, Northern Cyprus, on October 31, 2007.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Sussex Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ.