Edna marks 100th birthday 3,200 feet up

A daring great great grandmother took felt sky-high during her 100th birthday celebrations - as she hopped in a glider and soared thousands of feet above the ground.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 4:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:04 pm
Edna in the glider

Edna Arnold, from the Ortons in Peterborough, was taken 3,200 feet into the sky to mark her special birthday, thanks to the Cambridge Gliding Centre.

Edna, who has never learnt to drive, had previously suggested her longevity could be attributed to taking life at a slower pace.

After getting her feet back on solid ground, she said the experience was ‘very enjoyable,’ adding: “I would recommend it to anyone. Nothing to be frightened of at all.”

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Edna and her glider was launched by’aerotow,’ which involves a tug plane towing the glider on a rope to the desired height. The rope is then released by the glider and the pilot has a good chance of finding a thermal, (bubbles of hot air rising, from the ground) with which they climb to even greater heights.

Andrew Watson, the pilot who flew her, described her as “very calm throughout the flight.’

Edna had flown in airliners before, but had never been in small aircraft .

Granddaughter Caroline East also had a flight, to mark her 50th birthday. She said: “It went really well - it was really enjoyable. I think Nana was even keener than I was. She went first, so I had to go afterwards.

“Nana had been in a hot air balloon about 10 years ago, but she has never done anything else like this before.

“But she has now said she is going to bow out gracefully, and not do anything like this again.

“My sister, Suzanne, decided nana should mark the special birthday somehow.”

Edna’s birthday was on October 11, and she marked the day itself with afternoon tea with members of her family.