Intrepid pensioner Thelma Forbes is to tackle a thrilling abseil down Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower to raise funds for her local hospice charity – at the age of 90.

Thelma, of Woking, will make the adrenaline-fuelled 100-metre descent tomorrow (Saturday, August 26) in support of Woking and Sam Beare Hospice and Wellbeing Care. 

She has already received more than £2,000 in pledges from well-wishers, smashing her initial £500 target.

Thelma is a devoted supporter of the hospice and the abseil follows a fundraising skydive she took on at the tender age of 75.

She said: “I support the hospice as much as I can as I’ve seen the good work they do and it’s very close to my heart. At the age of 90 I thought I’ve got to do something spectacular – and after a skydive, what could be better than an abseil?

“I have been to Spinnaker Tower before and walked across the glass floor. It’s an amazing place in such a lovely area, with great views. I know how high it is, but I don’t really want to think about that as it’s terrifying!

“However, it’s all in a good cause and I know my family will be there to support me when I reach the ground.”

Thelma, a former air stewardess and school support worker, has two daughters and three grown-up grandchildren who are proud of her bravery and can-do attitude.

“They just keep asking me what I’m going to do when I’m 100,” added Thelma, who said she was considering a zip-line challenge and getting her first tattoo.

Thelma’s daughter, Janine Forbes, said: “Mum is the most determined person I know. 

“You may think she is a meek and mild little old lady, but she has a will of iron and once she has set her sights on something, nothing can stop her.

“She is quite simply the heart of our family, and her generosity towards others is truly inspiring.”

Kerry Gibb of Woking and Sam Beare Hospice said: “Sometimes you meet people in life who make such an impact on you that you never forget them, and this is how we at the hospice feel about Thelma. Her zest for life at such an incredible age is contagious. She is an absolute superstar.”

Sam Wakefield, marketing executive responsible for managing challenges, said: “The money raised will go towards supporting our 20-bed hospice and our work in the community around Surrey.

“We look after around 2,000 patients a year, and although we do get some funding from the NHS, a large percentage of our income comes from legacies and from wonderful fundraisers like Thelma. Her family are so proud of her, and so are we.”

Support Thelma’s fundraiser by visiting her JustGiving page at