An 81 year old Bristolian grandmother of five and breast cancer survivor Margaret Mall jumped out of a plane from 15,000ft recently. She wanted to help Contact the Elderly support more isolated older people in her area, as well as change perceptions of older people, which often can be so negative.
Contact the Elderly a the national charity dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness amongst older people in the UK. The charity, supported by a nationwide network of over 11,000 volunteers, runs free regular social events across the UK for some of the most socially isolated older people in the country.
The charity has been working in Bristol since the 1990s, helping Bristol’s older people stay connected to their community. Margaret has been part of Contact the Elderly’s Bristol groups for over five years now, following her husband’s death and her recovery from breast cancer.
“My husband was an amazing man, we even went to Kashmir together to see his family. After he passed I couldn’t go back into our old home, I felt so alone. I knew I needed to do something, and keep living my life, so I got in touch with Contact the Elderly,” Margaret said.
“I’ve lived alone since my husband died 22 years ago. I’ve got a great family, but most of them live far away, so I get lonely sometimes. Contact the Elderly’s events have given me so much to look forward to. I just wanted to give something back.”
Margaret was diagnosed with breast cancer after her husband’s death. She made a remarkable recovery, and was so excited to have the chance to do a skydive.
“When I first told my family, they thought I was mad,” she said. “So did my doctors, they wouldn’t sign my release forms when I first told them. But I’m fearless, when I heard all I needed to do was ride in a plane to 15,000ft and jump out of the door I thought it sounded amazing!”