Daring Audrey dives into the high life at age 80
AUDREY Gwillim did not expect anyone to believe her when she undertook to go skydiving for her 80th birthday.
She did not really believe it herself.
"I didn't think I'd live this long," she explained.
"It started as a joke when I was 60.
"My daughter asked what I wanted to do when I turned 80.
"I said, 'Skydiving' and they said, 'That'd be Mum.'
"Nobody else in my family line has lived long enough to do anything for their 80th.
"Both my parents died at 73, my grandparents earlier.
"My birthday was on January 21, but then came the wind and rain and the flooding - so I chickened out."
Mrs Gwillim is one of those many people whose lives would have been very different had they not fallen in love and raised a family.
"You're given other opportunities and you take them."
And Mrs Gwillim certainly did that, raising a family with all the single minded enthusiasm she could muster.
So enthusiastic was she that it is almost impossible to keep up with her breeding success.
"I think there's 15 grandchildren and I think 10-and-a-half great-grandchildren.
"One's still on the way," she explained.
Her first big plunge was coming to Australia with her parents in 1954.
And she is glad about that big step in her life as well.
It was the family she raised here that inspired her to take that other big step, out into nothing from the hatch of a perfectly good aeroplane.
"It was fantastic," she said, "Exactly as I expected.
"A grandson did it earlier and I saw his video.
"I'd like to do it again some time, because it's over so quickly you can't remember how you felt.
"It didn't worry me one bit, but I couldn't sleep that night."
Relaxation training gave her some handy coping skills for the adventure.
"I should have picked scuba diving probably.
"I told them I'd do it again for my 90th, but I've still got to do white water rafting."