Fearless Wigan pensioner, 88, to defy odds on skydive

Octagenarian Lilian Goulding
Octagenarian Lilian Goulding

An adventurous pensioner is all set for an incredible white-knuckle challenge to raise money for one of the borough’s biggest charities.

There can’t be too many people aged 88 who want to do a skydive - but Lilian Goulding from Standish is an exception.

The astoundingly intrepid octogenarian was all set to jump from a plane thousands of feet above the Lancashire countryside to raise cash for Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH).

Unfortunately her dream was dashed as she did not pass all the necessary pre-leap safety tests at the Black Knights Parachute Centre.

However, all is not lost as she will now do an indoor skydive instead at the suggestion of staff at the Hindley-based hospice.

Brave Lilian said: “Before they let you do a sky dive you have to show you can easily straighten your legs with the equipment on and keep them up until the instructor says to stop.

“Well, I tried it but I really couldn’t do it and he said he didn’t think I could do the sky dive.

“It was so disappointing because I passed everything else - I went to my GP and got a note saying I was fit - and I would have done it.

“I thought about it a lot beforehand, playing it back in my mind, and my son didn’t want me to do it but I thought ‘I’ve got an expert jumping with me’ and I was determined.

“I even wrote a poem for him to show him how determined I was to do the sky dive.”

Following the setback on June 10 Lilian was approached by WLH community fund-raiser Christine Edwardson who showed her a video of an indoor version of a skydive.

Fearless Lilian took up the new challenge and said that she is still inspired to think of others and help them out by the example of her husband Ken.

She said: “I’m wondering what the indoor skydive will be like and what it will feel like but I’ve been brought up to think positive and I have a son who is always getting me to think positive.

“Ken did a lot of charity work with Lions International and I feel that by doing this I’m following on from what Ken did.

“I’m also doing it because I like helping people who are sick and before I die I want to do something a bit adventurous and, despite my age, I think I can do it.”

Lilian and Ken were married for 65 years living together in Bamfurlong before she moved to be nearer to her son Mark in Standish.

Her hair-raising exploits for charity have amazed staff at the hospice, who are now willing her to complete the indoor skydive.

Christine said: “Lilian had her heart set on doing the sky dive and I know she was devastated when she found out she couldn’t do it. Fortunately she can do the indoor sky dive and I’m so pleased for her.”

In 2017 WLH cared for 1,100 local people with a life-limiting illness as well over 350 people close to our patients. It has to raise over £8,700 every day in order to continue providing all of its services.

To support Lilian in her fund-raising bid visit her Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lilian-goulding