88-year-old tackles charity skydive in aid of dementia research

An 88-year-old woman has tackled a 10,000ft charity skydive, in a bid to raise money for research into a rare form of dementia.

Elizabeth O’Donnell, of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, recently lost a friend to ultra-rare Pick’s disease – a severe form of dementia with no current treatment available.

“A friend of my daughter had her husband die of the disease. He was just dying. There was no treatment and no cure, not even to make it easier,” she said.

The former teacher successfully raised nearly £1,500 for the National Brain Appeal, in a bid to help fund research into the rare condition.

The 88-year-old jumped from a plane at an altitude of 10,000ft alongside 26 other skydivers – but brave Ms O’Donnell was the last person to jump.

“I was slightly apprehensive,” she said.

“But as my eldest daughter says, it’s there to be done, and you just get on and do it.

“That first few seconds where you come out of the plane and there’s this stream of cold air… You can’t lift your head up because of the wind.

“People keep saying it’s brave, but it’s not really. You’re strapped to somebody and you just fall through the air,” she said.

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