Wigan man takes leap of faith for his 80th birthday present

Leaping out of a plane thousands of feet above the earth would not be everybody’s ideal 80th birthday present ... but it is what one plucky pensioner wanted for his big day

Sunday, 25th August 2019, 9:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th August 2019, 10:44 pm
Brian Pennington

Brian Pennington, from Golborne, will celebrate the start of his ninth decade of life by doing the white-knuckle plunge for charity.

Brian, who turned 80 in June, asked his children to buy him a skydive experience as his birthday gift.

And now he is preparing to make the leap at the Black Knights Parachute Centre near Lancaster, with his exploits also tied to a fund-raising campaign for Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH).

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He decided to support the Hindley-based hospice’s work with people who are living with incurable illnesses as he has been volunteering at the WLH charity shop in Golborne since he retired from his job managing sheltered accommodation at the age of 73.

Amazingly Brian is the second brave pensioner in the borough to do a skydive for WLH in recent months after 85-year-old Leslie Cunliffe from Garswood achieving a bucket-list ambition going back decades by doing the terrifying jump.

Brian said: “I started volunteering at the shop after I retired because I have got to have something to do.

“I like meeting people, getting out and about and people come in the shops who I haven’t seen in years.

“Back in the 1970s I did a sky dive at Burscough Airfield and I enjoyed jumping out and shouting ‘Eureka!’

“So, a few months ago, when my three children asked what I wanted for my birthday I said I wanted to do a parachute jump again.”

Brian’s colleagues at the hospice are fully behind him getting to leap from the plane with only a parachute between him and the Earth once again.

Anna Hart, WLH retail manager, said: “I’m delighted for Brian that he is getting the opportunity to do another sky dive.

“I did one myself in June and absolutely loved it.

“Brian not only volunteers his time every week to help other people but now he is raising money so that he can help even more.

“It’s a wonderful gesture and I hope his sky diving experience is as thrilling as it was the first time.”

Brian’s skydive takes place on September 1.