Daredevil Gran Makes 15,000FT Skydive For Broughton House Veteran Care Village
A daredevil grandma in her late 60s leapt from a plane at 15,000ft to raise money for Broughton House Veteran Care Village in Salford.
Retired nurse Brenda Cogswell, 67, from Eccles, Greater Manchester, was making her fourth tandem skydive when she took part in the event at the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster along with her sister and teenage granddaughter.
Brenda made her first jump when she was 50 – a birthday present from husband Alan, a retired education welfare officer.
Her sister Jackie Bevan, 53, who is also a grandma, and granddaughter Ally Cogswell, 19, were making their first skydives.
The family trio were among a group of seven who raised more than £6,300 for the UK’s first Veteran Care Village.
The others taking part were Jenni Conning-Wild, who is a Broughton House ambassador and an assistant careers adviser with the Royal Navy, Broughton House supporters Amanda Higginson and John Broadbent, and Sally Carr, mother of the care home’s community and events fundraiser Laura Carr.
Broughton House is being transformed in a £15m redevelopment which when completed will feature a 64-bedroom care home, up to 30 independent living apartments, a military support hub, memorial park and landscaped gardens with a bowling green and bandstand.
Brenda, who reached a speed of up to 175 miles per hour during her skydive, helps out at Broughton House as a volunteer.
Her late father Frank Blackburn was a Royal Marine Commando who took part in the D-Day landings during World War Two, helping to liberate Port-en-Bessin in Normandy. He later earned the Pacific Star military campaign medal for further bravery during the war.
She said: “I’ve always had an interest in veterans’ stories, and when I was a district nurse I used to treat patients at Broughton House.
“When I retired, I thought it would be nice place to volunteer. It’s a wonderful place where our veterans are well-cared for.”
Brenda added: “I was frightened of heights before I made my first skydive at the age of 50. But if you can face jumping out of a plane and falling to earth, you can do anything.
“It was an amazing experience doing my latest jump, and it was made all the more special because Ally and Jackie were taking part too.”
Ally, an administrator who lives in Irlam, said: “I thought I had to take part once my nana told me she was going to do it. It was really fun.
“The public’s support is vital in securing the funding to complete the building work at Broughton House.”
The next adventurous challenge Brenda plans to undertake is to climb Ben Nevis.
Jackie, a housekeeper at Monton Medical Centre in Eccles, said: “Why couldn’t I have a sister who did knitting and sewing. She’s like a female Bear Grylls.”
Laura said: “It was a brilliant day for skydiving and we are hugely grateful to the group who all did amazingly well. They are now part of a growing Broughton House skydiving family!
“As the development of our Veteran Care Village progresses, it’s such a thrilling time to get involved.”