Lune Valley teacher Ann Wardle celebrates her 70th and raises funds for charity.
‘She flies through the air with the greatest of ease’
As a small child, I wanted to be a trapeze artist, but alas, that was not to be! However, I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of elevation and flight. My 70th Birthday was fast approaching and I was asked by the family if I wanted to do anything special to mark the occasion. After some thought, I expressed a desire to try an indoor ‘Sky Dive’, which my daughter was tasked with arranging.
So at 8am on a cold, dark January morning, 3 generations of the Wardle family arrived with some trepidation at i-Fly, Manchester to make our inaugural flight and meet Brad, our instructor for the morning. After a video presentation showing us what to expect, we learned the correct body position to adopt, along with the hand signals he would use to help us to achieve this position, then we were given our equipment – baggy flying suit, earplugs, goggles and crash helmet. We were then led into the air-locked vertical wind tunnel and seated on a bench– no backing out now! As our turn to fly came nearer, we nervously edged along the bench towards the door. Some of the men in the group struggled to fly without Brad’s help, then my grandsons and daughter had their turn and flew unaided for a time. Would I disgrace myself and have to be supported throughout my time in the tube? At last my turn came and I launched myself into Brad’s capable arms as we had been shown beforehand. The 150mph wind hit me, momentarily taking my breath away and giving me an instant face-lift, then after a few tweaks of my head and hand positions, Brad stepped away and I was flying solo – how exhilarating was that! 45 years of Keep Fit had given me the body awareness and core strength to relax whilst maintaining the correct body position.
My time in the wind tunnel was all too short, but we had another flight to go, where we could be taken up to the top of the tube (for an extra fee!). Did we want to go? – of course we did!! So after regaining the correct flight position, Brad took hold of my flying suit and whirled me around, spiralling up to the top of the tube and whooshing down again, twice – AMAZING.
When everyone had had their turn, the two instructors put on a display of synchronised sky-diving, twisting, turning and somersaulting up and down the tube – something to aspire to, maybe for my 80th birthday? If you are ever tempted to defy gravity without having to jump out of a plane, I can thoroughly recommend the experience of indoor sky diving.
A big thank you must go to my generous Keep Fit friends and family who sponsored me, raising £350 to be shared between Lune Valley Keep Fit Association and the National Charity.
Ann Wardle (Lune Valley KFA)