Lancaster 94-year-old becomes oldest woman skydiver in British history

Abbeyfield care home resident turned adrenaline seeker Adeline Franken completed a skydive at Cark airfield in Cumbria.
Abbeyfield care home resident turned adrenaline seeker Adeline Franken completed a skydive at Cark airfield in Cumbria.

Pensioner Adeline Franken has entered the record books after completing a skydive at the age of 94.

Adeline, who lives at Abbeyfield Cove House in Silverdale, turned adrenaline seeker on Sunday when she took the plunge at 15,000ft in aid of the RNLI.

Adeline Franken prepares to take the plunge.

Adeline Franken prepares to take the plunge.

The dive took place at Cark Airfield in Cumbria and Adeline said afterwards: “There is nothing to it.”

Adeline has a strong passion for the RNLI charity and a great respect for its volunteer crew who saves lives at sea.

She said: “My father-in-law was a captain in the Netherlands Merchant Navy. His ship was torpedoed on a run from Holland to South America. He and his crew had to be rescued.”

The skydive took place with Jodie Evans, Cove House manager, Ann Epps, vice-chair of the Grange-over-Sands branch of the RNLI, and other friends in attendance.

Adeline safely on the ground after her skydive.

Adeline safely on the ground after her skydive.

After the exhilarating experience, Adeline said: “There is nothing to it, you just move towards the edge and kind of flop out. You start to fall, then when you are well clear of the aircraft the parachute opens and you go back up!”

The jump makes Adeline a record breaker, as she became the oldest woman in Britain to ever undertake such a challenge.

When asked why she took on the daredevil feat, she simply responded: “It’s just something to do – better than watching paint dry.”

However, when she is not jumping from 15,000 feet, Adeline still finds plenty to occupy her time.

Adeline Franken.

Adeline Franken.

She takes advantage of a wide variety of activities on offer to residents at Cove House, including yoga, music sessions, flower arranging, and knitting for a women’s hospital in Ethiopia.

She also enjoys walking around the grounds and taking trips into Carnforth, where she attends communion and catches up with her friends over a coffee.

Cove House manager Jodie Evans said: “We knew Adeline was a bit of a daredevil, but we never expected to have her take on a skydive. It’s a tremendous achievement for her and one we are all so proud of. The slideshow of photos has also been a real highlight for our other residents to watch!”

Chris Clouter, RNLI volunteer press officer at Barrow Lifeboat Station, said: “We at the RNLI are so lucky to have supporters like Adeline raising money for our charity.

Barrow Lifeboat Station wants to say a huge thank you to Adeline, on behalf of the RNLI, and also congratulations on such an impressive achievement!

“The RNLI is a charity and we depend on donations like this as we provide a 24/7 search and rescue service.”

RNLI area fundraising manager Adele Sherwood added: “Adeline is such an inspirational character, and has proved that it’s never too late to try something new.

“The RNLI are so grateful to have such amazing supporters like Adeline, who raise vital funds for our charity and helps us save lives at sea.”

Adeline, who has a son living in New Zealand, is raising money on her Just Giving page.

You can still help her reach her target by going online here

“I think the RNLI do such a fantastic job,” she said. “If my skydive will help to raise a great deal of money for them, then that’s all that matters.”

The RNLI is a charity which depends on donations, like the funds raised by Adeline, to train and equip volunteers and in turn help them save lives at sea.

Around 150 people still lose their lives in the UK and Irish waters annually, and the RNLI aims to half the number of accidental coastal deaths by 2024.