Gran celebrates 90th birthday by diving out of a plane

Gran celebrates 90th birthday by diving out of a plane

A fearless 90-year-old grandmother celebrated her landmark birthday in style as she threw herself out of a plane at 12,000ft. 

Inspirational Margaret O’Neill, a soon-to-be great-grandmother, says that falling through the air at 125mph was “relaxing”. 

She took to the air in a tandem jump with “90 and still flying” written on the palms of her hands. 

Video footage shows Margaret sitting on the edge of the plane at 12,000ft, waiting to jump out as her instructor then leaps into the air and the pair hurtle towards the ground. 

There was more to the skydive than just the thrill of the jump, as Margaret raised more than £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her childhood sweetheart and beloved husband, Eddie. 

Scottish-born Margaret, who now lives in near Faversham, Kent, said: “My husband died about 15 years ago and in the last few weeks of his life, the Macmillan nurses would come in at any time of the day or night when he needed them. They are fantastic. 

“I always knew that I wanted to give something back, but you know, life happens, and it has taken me until my 90th birthday to actually do something.

“I decided that this year I didn’t want a party, I’d do a skydive for Macmillan instead.” 

Former singer Margaret, who has two children and three grandchildren, headed to the Kent Skydiving Centre in Headcorn on Sunday where she was met by cheers from family and friends as she plummeted to the ground. 

She added: “As I sat in the window of the plane I thought ‘oh my goodness’ and then I just burst out laughing. 

“When you get to 90 you think ‘I must be lucky’ so this can either go one way or the other, that’s the only way you can look at it really. 

“As soon as you leave the plane, there is the force of wind in your face. 

“I thought to myself ‘just breathe in and breathe out’. I didn’t feel much emotion, but it was so relaxing. 

“It was a lovely experience, going out for the first time was a rush, then suddenly you are in mid-air not moving, and then the next thing you see the ground coming up beneath you. 

“I was flying and I wanted to stay up there longer.” 

Granddaughter Katie Woods, from Faversham, said the family were proud of Margaret’s achievement. 

She added: “It came as quite a shock at first when my mum told me that’s what she wanted to do for her 90th birthday, but when I found out she was doing it all in aid of Macmillan it made perfect sense. 

“We lost our granddad to cancer quite a few years ago and he really was the love of her life. 

“The day of my nan’s skydive was so inspiring and it really does go to show that whatever your age or circumstance, anything is possible. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

By Chris Dyer and Bess Browning