Amazing Wigan pensioner Lilian in sky high mission

Lilian Goulding with her instructor
Lilian Goulding with her instructor

A plucky pensioner proved age is no barrier to achieving your ambitions when she did an indoor skydive for a major local charity.

Lilian Goulding donned the full body suit and helmet for the white-knuckle experience in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) at the grand age of 88.

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Amazingly Lilian, who lived in Bamfurlong for many years but is now in Standish, wanted to do the annual outdoor plunge from an aeroplane for WLH, but failed the safety tests at the Black Knights Parachute Centre.

However, her dreams of doing something daring for the Hindley-based charity were not over as WLH community fund-raiser Christine Edwardson suggested going into the powerful wind chamber at iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Manchester.

She said she loved the thrilling experience although admitted she hadn’t realised just how intense it would be.

Lilian said: “It was awesome. People had told me before I did it what it was like and there were lots of stories being bandied about but nobody said what it was really like.

“The wind took my breath away. It buffets and batters you.

“The force of it was unbelievable and then there’s the noise alongside it. You would have to go in there yourself to know what I’m talking about.

“As I stepped in with the wind whooshing I thought I couldn’t do it but I got in there through mind over matter.

“The instructor was a lovely man, very sympathetic and understanding, and he got me to lie down and then suddenly I was lifted up. It was all over in a few seconds.

“It’s not for the faint-hearted. You have to take off watches, rings, jewellery, everything like that, and I have a pacemaker fitted so I had to get written assurance that it would be alright. At least I’ve proved it can stand up to this!”

Lilian hopes her efforts will eventually bring in around £700 for WLH, with some sponsorship money still to be collected. She said she was following in the footsteps of her husband Ken in her charity work as he devoted a lot of time and effort to supporting good causes during his life.

She said she was determined not to back out of the indoor skydiving challenge because of the hospice’s work with people with life-limiting illnesses and its dependence on donations for much of its funding.

Her next charity effort will be a little less adrenaline-pumping as she intends to return to her talent for writing poetry.

She is hoping to put together a Poetry Address Book where the names of friends are listed in alphabetic order together with some of Lilian’s light-hearted, Lancashire-inspired verses.

This will raise money either for Age UK or the cardiac unit at Wigan Infirmary, where Lilian herself has received treatment and whose staff she is full of praise for.

Support Lilian in her charity efforts here