80th birthday a prime time for Shirley Rees's first skydive
SHIRLEY Rees thought she would spend her 80th birthday enjoying a piece of chocolate cake and cup of tea with her family.
How very wrong she was.
The Caloundra great-grandmother spent her milestone birthday keeping the adrenaline pumping with a surprise tandem skydive from 3600 metres.
Her family, and friends from Kookaburra Village, gathered on the Currimundi beach yesterday to watch Shirley make her grand entrance against a backdrop of stunning blue skies.
"I did it," she said once her toes touched the sand.
"It was wonderful. I'd do it again.
"Looking over the water it was absolutely beautiful.
"I was a bit jittery but once I got out there I was alright.
"I thought I was having my grandson and great-grandson visit for my birthday and that was the surprise for my birthday.
"Then they surprised me with this - I had no idea.
"I made chocolate cake and thought we were just going to have morning tea."
Son Alan Dolan, from Moffat Beach, said his mum asked for no presents, but she never said "no" to skydiving.
"In a conversation a while ago I said to her when I saw some skydivers in the air, 'would you do that?' and she said she'd have a crack at it, and that's the only time she'd mentioned it," he said.
"She was pretty shocked when we told her in the morning, but she was ready to go - she's very fit for her age."
Shirley wasn't the only senior citizen on board.
Eighty-year-old George Lavendar ticked off his only bucket-list item - skydiving - when he jumped out second.
The Gladstone man's friends Edwina and Brad Graving and their children, Chelsea and Grant, travelled from Toowoomba to watch George take the plunge.
The family met George while travelling around Australia and said his warm and friendly personality had ensured they kept in touch.
"He's a real character and something like this is so him - he's a bundle of energy," Edwina said.
When George landed he said the rush was worth it, but he might take things a little easier for his 90th.
"I might just have a few coldies next time," he said.
"This was the one thing on my bucket list and I've done it now."
Tandem skydiving master Danny Barnes, from Sunshine Coast Skydivers, said the blue skies made for perfect jumping conditions.
"This just shows everyone can experience a skydive from age 14 to 80," he said.
"They both did fantastic."