Daredevil pensioners will abseil 60ft

Dorothy Peace and Doris Hackett

Dorothy Peace and Doris Hackett

First published in Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

MEET Doris Hackett and Dorothy Peace – two great-grandmothers who have a real head for heights.

Doris, 82, and 89-year-old Dorothy usually spend their days chatting at coffee mornings, playing bingo or enjoying a game of 10-pin bowling.

But on February 10, the daredevil pensioners are foregoing their normal routine to abseil 60ft from the top of Basingstoke hospital.

It is a challenge that would be daunting for most, but these brave women have taken the mission in their stride and are focused on raising money for Shopmobility – a Basingstoke charity which provides mobility scooters for those less able to walk.

Doris, a grandmother-of-eight, from Water End Park, near Old Basing, said: “I think we will be nervous on the day.

“People think I’m mad for doing it. I think I’m mad! But I’m that sort of person. I have never done anything like this before.

“The most adventurous thing I have done before is get married. But I’m game for a laugh and up for anything.”

Dorothy, a retired post lady of Oaklands Park, Hook Common, will be the oldest participant in the abseil.

The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-one said: “We were more or less dared to do it.”

Both women have relied on using Shopmobility’s services for a number of years, and Dorothy also volunteers for the charity.

They will be joined by up to 58 others, including the grandchildren of a former Shopmobility volunteer, who had also signed up to do the jump, but died last year of a brain tumour.

Fifteen-year-old Kyle Lafferty, his 11-year-old sister Kaitlin, and their cousin Kieron Fuller, 19, decided to take part in the abseil in memory of their grandmother, Maggie Fuller. The 72-year-old, from South Ham, Basingstoke, lost her battle on September 3 last year.

Her daughter Clare Lafferty, 39, of Sandpiper Way, Basingstoke, said: “She was disabled from the age of six because of polio and was going to do the abseil in a wheelchair.

“When she told me I thought ‘Oh my God.’ But she was a bit like that. She would give everything a go once, particularly if it was for a good cause.”

Clare said her children and nephew are “apprehensive but determined” to complete the challenge, adding: “They said they would really like to do it for nanny.”

Anne Blackmore, manager of Shopmobility, in Church Street, said of the participants: “I think they are remarkable.

“They are an example to a lot of people. It shows what you can do it you want to.”

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