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Adeline Franken, a resident of Cove House at the Abbeyfield Silverdale Society, has broken the British record for the oldest female skydiver ever after jumping out of a plane from 15,000 feet in an effort to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Taking place at Cark Airfield in Grange-over-Sands, Adeline jumped from two miles up for just under a minute, at 120 miles per hour, before opening her parachute and touching down gracefully.
This was not Adeline’s first jump, but it has been a while. She says, “I have done a skydive before, I think that was for the RNLI too. It was some years ago.” However, she’s not lost the knack and makes it sound so easy. “There is nothing to it really, you just move towards the edge and kind of flop out. You start to fall, then when you are well clear of the aircraft the parachute opens and you go back up!”
Why does she do it? Well, why not! As she says, “It’s just something to do – better than watching paint dry.”
That being said, Adeline does find plenty of things to occupy her time when she’s not jumping out of planes. She enjoys living at Cove House and spends most of her time participating in activities such as yoga, flower arranging and music sessions, doing a crossword or taking a walk around the grounds. She also makes a trip to Carnforth, the local village, every week for communion and to catch up with her friends over a coffee.
Her charitable efforts are also not just reserved for the skies, and she spends some of her time knitting squares with other residents, which they send off to be made into blankets for a women’s hospital in Ethiopia.
The RNLI’s mission, to save lives at sea, is a cause close to Adeline’s heart. Her connection goes back many decades to when her father-in-law, Captain Gerrard Franken, was in the Netherlands Merchant Navy. His ship was torpedoed on a run from Holland to South America and he and his crew had to be rescued.
“I think the RNLI do such a fantastic job,” she says. “If my skydive will help to raise a great deal of money for them, then that’s all that matters.”
RNLI Area Fundraising Manager Adele Sherwood stated, “Adeline is such an inspirational character, and has proved that it’s never too late to try something new. The RNLI are so grateful to have such amazing supporters like Adeline, who raise vital funds for our charity and helps us save lives at sea.”
Adeline is hoping to raise over £1,000. If you would like to support her, please head over to her fundraising page.