Monday, 21 October, 2019

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83-year-old Irish granny ‘still on a high’ after 10,000 ft skydive

An 83-year old grandmother says she is ‘still on a high’ after jumping 10,000 ft from an aeroplane on her first skydive last weekend.

Annette Callan from Ardee, Co. Louth has already signed herself and her family up for a solo jump next year and is contemplating climbing Croagh Patrick again, after making her debut at the summit in just 90 minutes, to mark her 80th birthday.

The octogenarian who regularly cycles 20km treks and is able to stand on her head during 6.30am daily yoga sessions raised over €1000 for the Ardee Hospice by completing the skydive with the Irish Parachute Club at Edenderry, Co. Offaly last Sunday.

“I was a bit nervous at the house before I left but then I was fine,” she said.

After a bit of training, they opened the aeroplane door and I had to swing my legs out of the side. I forgot absolutely everything the instructor had told me for a few minutes.

“I did a tandem dive with my instructor Peter Breen and we free fell 5,000 ft which was a bit uncomfortable at first because of the wind.

“Then the parachute opened for the last 5,000 ft and it was so lovely. It was like floating on air and it seemed to take forever to reach the ground because I’m so light so I got my moneys worth,” she laughed.

“The minute I landed, I wanted to go straight back up. I’ve already signed up for next year for another date with Peter. I’m looking forward to it even more because next time, I know what to expect.”

Her daughter Deirdre said the whole family had made the trip to support Annette and had laughed when they saw her dressed up in the suit she had to wear for the sky dive.

“She looked like something out of Top Gun. She did amazing and we are all so proud of her. Next year, I turn 50 and my daughter turns 18 so we hope to do another skydive, this time as a family. It will be three generations jumping together.

Age is just a number of supple Annette who also intends doing the Tough Mudder obstacle race in the coming months.

In recent years, the mum of four has gone jet skiing and parasailing and describes herself as an ‘adrenalin junkie’

Annette Callan and instructor Peter BreenPicture: Irish Parachute Club
Annette Callan and instructor Peter BreenPicture: Irish Parachute Club

“I get up early and do some yoga before heading off on the bike for a 20km spin four or five times a week. Then it’s off to collect the grandchildren from school and take care of them until their parents come home from work

“I do the homework and might even play a bit of soccer with them. The children keep me young. I hate being around complainers.”

The cold and wet weather doesn’t stop Annette from getting out and about and she revealed a handy tip to keep the circulation moving.

“If it’s cold, I’ll heat two potatoes in the microwave and pop them in my gloves to keep my fingers warm before heading off.

“I think the secret is to keep moving and not to give up. I’m a very strong minded person and I won’t let anything beat me – so bring on the next challenge,” she chuckled.

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