Adrenaline-hunting granny takes to the skies

published on 20 Jul 2015

An unassuming churchgoing granny of six has taken a leap of faith – 12,000-feet above Kent on 22 July 2015 - to raise funds for ongoing community work in Hythe.


Fearless Lilian Cardy – standing at the edge of her eighties - is a natural-born adrenalin-hunter, unfazed by new experiences. A lifelong lover of fairground rides, Lilian has often sought out more and more adventurous experiences – already under her belt are a helicopter trip, a glider flight and a hot-air balloon ride.

Lilian, who once persuaded a tour guide to lend her his briefcase so she could sledge down a section of the Austrian Alps, said: ‘The hot-air balloon was a little too slow for me. I’m not frightened at all about getting up to great heights and speeds.’

Not satisfied with only this, and having always wanted to take part in a skydive, Lilian decided to treat herself to a tandem jump and use it as an opportunity to raise valuable funds for The Salvation Army in Hythe. Having experienced tough times during the miners’ strikes when living in Seaham Harbour – a community dependent on the coalmining industry – Lilian understands the difference made when practical compassionate support is readily offered during times when life isn’t easy.

She said: ‘I’m a lifelong member of The Salvation Army church and have supported in a number of ways from helping in the parent-and-toddler group to teaching young children in the Sunday school to writing to people who are unwell or unable to attend church so that they know they are missed.’

Lieutenant Callum McKenna (the minister coleading Hythe Salvation Army church) said: ‘Lilian is “granny” to many in the community, having taught generations of children in our Sunday school and parent-and-toddler group. Despite being almost in her eighties, Lilian wanted to do something to raise funds for The Salvation Army in its 150th year and in particular our church in Hythe, so we can ensure we continue to be there for the community.

‘As The Salvation Army celebrates its birth in the East End of London, where early Salvationists supported vulnerable people in the community and helped them to turn their lives around, we continue to work in Hythe, providing a warm welcome to everyone from our parents and toddlers to our older people’s groups, as well as meeting the needs of people in crisis situations.’

Lilian will turn 79 within weeks of her skydive and doesn’t see her age as an obstacle. She said: ‘I grew up in wartime so wasn’t able to do anything like this skydive so I’m really looking forward to getting in – and then out of – that plane for my skydive!’

She adds that the only thing that will top this experience is the opportunity to walk on the wings of a plane in flight!

Lilian’s husband, Jonas, is bemused by his wife’s daredevil adventures. Having been a member of the Band of the Parachute Regiment – a non-combative role, Jonas sees Lilian fulfilling his own younger dreams. Although he is quick to admit that he doesn’t fancy taking a similar leap himself now!

Lilian attends The Salvation Army church on Portland Road, Hythe. Her skydive will take place at Headcorn Airfield on 22 July 2015.

People wishing to donate to Lilian’s fundraiser can contact The Salvation Army, Portland Road, Hythe CT21 6EG or donate online here