DAREDEVIL grandma Irene O'Shea has proven once again that age is no barrier, becoming the world's oldest skydiver after taking the plunge from more than 14,000 feet.

In front of close to 50 family and friends, the 102-year old from Athelstone completed her landing yesterday afternoon, taking the title from Kenneth Meyer of New Jersey.

Born on May 30, 1916, Ms O'Shea turned 102 years and 193 days yesterday - 21 days older than Mr Meyer when he completed his jump last year.

Ms O’Shea just before the jump. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager
Ms O’Shea just before the jump. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager

 

Taking the plunge. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager
Taking the plunge. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager

After landing with SA Skydiving in Langhorne Creek yesterday afternoon, Ms O'Shea said she had no fear heading into her third jump in as many years.

"I felt normal, about the same (as previous jumps)," she said.

"I was with the same partner (Jed Smith) and the same young fellas were in the plane with me.

Irene O’Shea during her jump to retake the record for world’s oldest skydiver yesterday in SA. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager
Irene O’Shea during her jump to retake the record for world’s oldest skydiver yesterday in SA. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager

"It was very clear up there and the weather was good but it was very cold up there."

Inclement weather forced a delay to the record-breaking jump, which was initially due to take place last Sunday.

In 2016, Ms O'Shea celebrated her 100th birthday by skydiving for the first time, and returned a year later, when she became the world's oldest female skydiver.

She has so far raised close to $12,000 for Motor Neurone Disease, which her daughter Shelagh died from at the age of 67. She's hoping to raise another $10,000 from this year's jump.

It was a jump from 14,000 feet. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager
It was a jump from 14,000 feet. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager

"I lost my daughter to that terrible disease 10 years ago and I miss her," Ms O'Shea said.

Ms O'Shea lives in the same Athelstone house that she's lived in since arriving in Australia from England in 1974. She drives her own car and reads without glasses, and apart from some minor issues is in good health. And she is already thinking about when her next jump might be.

"Possibly I will jump next year and if I live long enough I'll jump at 105," she said.

Together with most of Ms O'Shea's five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, Shelagh's husband Mike Fitzhenry watched on yesterday, proud of his mother-in-law's latest achievement.

On the ground — a successful jump and back in the record books. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager
On the ground — a successful jump and back in the record books. Picture: SA Skydiving / Bryce Sellick & Matt Teager

"I felt inspired by her - the attitude and courage and fearlessness is amazing," he said.

"If I walk up three stairs and then walk back down I get nervous. I would never jump out of a plane."

Mr Fitzhenry said his late wife was very much like Irene - independent and full of life.

"She was a chip off the old block," he said.

"She was good with languages and the first thing to go when she got motor neurone disease was her speech - it's terrible for someone who spoke so many languages."

To contribute to Ms O'Shea's fundraising campaign, visit GoFundMe.



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