WHEN Monica Cobbett wondered how to celebrate her ninetieth birthday in style, her daughter came up with a spectacular answer: a skydive.

Monica, Woking born and bred but now living in Horsell, said: “I’d had a go at Formula Ford driving at Thruxton a few years ago and we’d been thinking about what to do next. That’s when Sarah-Jane, my daughter, gave me the parachute jump as a birthday present.

“I’ve always been prepared to get involved and you only go this way once, so I thought, ‘Why not?’

“I did the jump at Old Sarum Airfield, Salisbury, at the end of last month and it was on a lovely day. We did all the preliminaries, watched the video, being strapped to the instructor, how to land.

“There were seven of us on the plane and we had an instructor each. I was with Gary, and he had a video camera attached to his wrist to film it all.”

What about when the time came to jump? Were there any doubts?

“I had to go then, didn’t I? We went up to 7,000 feet, then it was freefall for the first 10 seconds. When the parachute opened everything was so peaceful, the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

“Gary looked after the landing, but overall I think I surprised myself about how cool I stayed!"

For the full story get the 13 June edition of the News & Mail