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I'm going to fly like a bird on my 80th; CHARITY: Gran Barbara plans to celebrate her birthday strapped to a hang-glider.

Byline: By Christina Savvas

SUPERGRAN Barbara Rawlings won't be settling down for a quiet birthday tea party when she turns 80.

Instead, the daredevil pensioner from Coventry will be hang-gliding from a mile above the ground.

Barbara, who lives in Middlecotes, Tile Hill South, and has two sons and a grandson, said keeping active has always been the way of life for her.

She said: "All my life I have kept active playing netball, tennis, I have travelled the world and now I play golf and do yoga.

"I have been in a helicopter but I have always wanted to try hanggliding and never had the chance before. I don't need any presents at my age, I have everything I need in life, so I have asked friends and family and anyone else who can to sponsor me to do the flight and the money will be donated to Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance."

Barbara, who moved to the area 10 years ago to look after her sick mother, worked as a medical laboratory scientific officer and spent 10 years in the Middle East.

She was involved in setting up the first women's hospital in the United Arab Emirates 20 years ago.

She needs to raise pounds 299 to complete the flight at Sywell airfield in Northamptonshire.

On her birthday on July 26, following a lunch with family and friends Mrs Rawlings will be taken up in a microlite and then complete her tandem hang-glide.

Mrs Rawlings says she has never felt scared about trying something new.

She said: "People think I'm mad to do something like this at my age. My family were very surprised, especially my grandson who is 21-years-old this year.

"I am not scared at all. The organisers at Sywell have asked me if want to take out extra insurance but I have said no. It doesn't bother me."

Mrs Rawlings has set up a bank account in the charity's name at Coventry Building Society for anyone who wishes to donate.

CAPTION(S):

JB210508BARB1 I'M UP FOR IT... Gran Barbara Rawlings may be approaching her 80th birthday, but she's not ready to take life easy just yet. Picture: James Balfour
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 26, 2008
Words:364
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