82-year-old adrenaline junkie takes on Rendcomb wingwalking challenge

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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A SPRIGHTLY 82-year-old woman took to the skies above Rendcomb this morning, making it her mission to have an unforgettable birthday.

Annie Ashby, who turns 83 later this month, decided last year that she wanted to go wingwalking for her birthday.

She visited Vic Norman's Breitling Wingwalkers at Rendcomb Airfield to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime birthday outing.

The adrenaline junkie went hot air ballooning for her 82nd birthday last year and also wants to try out microlighting.

"I just love the freedom of being up in the air," said Annie, who often visits the Cotswolds as a close friend of her step-daughter's lives in North Cerney.

"I have wanted to do this a long time."

The oldest wingwalker at Breitling was a man, aged 94. However, pilot Dave Barrell said he thinks Annie could be the oldest woman they have had wingwalking at the airfield.

Despite seeming a bit nervous climbing on top of the plane at the beginning, Annie said the experience was an "absolute dream".

"The scenery was just magnificent," she said. "Taking off was a bit bumpy but it was just beautiful."

Annie was accompanied by her step-daughter, and former Bond Girl, Carole Ashby as well as their close friend Paola Jefferies, who lives nearby in North Cerney.

Carole, who starred in Octopussy and A View to Kill and went hot air ballooning with Annie last year, said: "You wouldn't catch me going up there. She will want to take flying lessons next!"



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