Two years ago, at the age of 81, Pat O’Riordan – who lives in Ferndown – took part in a wing walk raising an impressive £5,000 for Alzheimer’s Research.
And now, she plans to abseil down the 110-metre Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth on 25th August, this time for Osteoporosis research.
“I’ve once again chosen a research charity as without answers to diseases we have nothing,” said Pat.
Her mother died at the age of 96, suffering from Alzheimer’s which is why Pat chose that charity for her first adventure.
“My mother also had osteoporosis as has my sister,” said Pat. “And would you believe that I have just been diagnosed with the disease too.”
The charity is marking its 30th anniversary this year
Health issues are very close to Pat’s heart as having trained at Guy’s Hospital she went on to become community nurse manager for Dorset Healthcare, working in a number of offices including Victoria Hospital, Wimborne and St Leonards Hospital.
She also worked with the army and air force abroad, moving to Ferndown in 1973.
Since she retired in 1993, she has hardly stopped to draw breath.
In addition to being a keen member of Ferndown Golf Club, she is a member of the U3A and ran their keep fit sessions for 13 years.
Today she runs the Badminton group and the singles lunch club.
“I have always looked after myself with a good diet and plenty of exercise,” said Pat, who had breast cancer 14 years ago.
She is a firm believer in encouraging older people to have full lives.
“Just get involved with things,” she said. “I was hugely fortunate to chose to live in Ferndown where there are so many activities to chose from.”
She has advice for people who say they are lonely and haven’t spoken to anyone for days.
“Just knock on your neighbour’s door and invite them in for a coffee,” she said.
Is she worried about the abseil?
“Surprisingly I am more nervous about it than I was about the wing walk. I’ve watch people abseil down the tower at St Mary’s Church in Ferndown and realise that you lean back into nothing,” she said.
She said members of Ferndown Golf Club would be sponsoring her, but if you would like to support this brave woman’s challenge, send a cheque to the National Osteoporosis Society, Camerton, Bath, BA2 0PJ, with a note saying it is in support of Pat O’Riordan.