A DAREDEVIL great-grandmother hand delivered a very special birthday card to a young man who she courageously jumped out of a plane for when he was a toddler battling cancer.
Parachuting pensioner Mabel Swift MBE, 92, has been reunited with Luke Cater to see him celebrate his 18th birthday – over a decade after she did a skydive to help raise funds to send him on a dream trip to Disney World. After reading about Luke’s milestone birthday in the Free Press, Mabel was quick to get in touch with him to ensure he got his card in time for the celebrations.
Luke was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a kidney removed when he was just two years old.
Despite getting the all clear several years ago Luke is still plagued by health problems caused by the aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy he underwent as a toddler.
The people of Bridlington were quick to rally round during his recovery to help raise the funds needed to send him on a trip of a lifetime to Disneyworld, Florida, through the Make A Wish Foundation UK.
Upon meeting up with Luke, Mabel, who beat breast cancer 53 years ago, said: “Look how well he looks, he has got his whole life in front of him. I had cancer and had to have three operations and that was 53 years ago and look what I have done since.”
“I can still do a somersault, and I think I could still do a cartwheel.
“I’m as strong as a bull,” she added.
To date Mabel has completed a total of 11 skydives, six abseils, and two bungee jumps for charitable causes, and she told the Free Press that she would do another skydive again tomorrow if her doctor would allow it.
Mabel’s daredevil antics have earned her plenty of coverage in the Free Press over the years.
Eight years ago she attended Buckingham Palace where she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her tireless fund-raising, with her brave leaps having raised thousands of pounds over the years for various charities including the British Red Cross and the Yorkshire Disability Network.
She is also a founding member of the Jumpers Over Eighty Society.
“I have enjoyed it, I have had a good life.
“I lost my husband and my two sons so there have been some sad times but if I didn’t help out people, if I just sat at home, I would be as miserable as sin,” said Mabel who has 11 grandchildren, around 20 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
And the secret to staying so fit and healthy she believes is rooted in her farming background, with her love of heights perhaps going back to a time when she would jump off straw stacks.
“I could plough a pair of horses before I left school.
“I’m a farmer’s daughter and I could farm as good as any man.”
“We used to jump off the top of straw stacks and those stacks were nearly as high as houses,” she added.