Golden girls, 89 and 80, braced for hospital abseil

Adriana Young, 89, left, and Jenny Atkinson, 80

Adriana Young, 89, left, and Jenny Atkinson, 80 Buy this photo

First published in News

THEY may be in their 80s, but two friends from Woodstock are about to hit new heights.

Adriana Young, 89, and Jenny Atkinson, 80, are abseiling down the 100-foot wall of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington on Sunday, May 18, with Mrs Young to become the oldest person to ever take on the challenge at the site.

The pair are raising money for the Oxford Heart Centre at the hospital.

Mrs Young’s husband, Roy Young, died aged 60 after a heart operation for angina at the Churchill Hospital in Headington, 38 years ago.

The Market Street resident said: “I suppose I am proud in a way to be the oldest, I didn’t think about that. “There are people older than me who jump out of aeroplanes.”

Mrs Young, whose only son Roland had disabilities and died aged 42, added: “I have to remind myself that I am 89, I don’t feel it.

“I was visiting a friend at the John Radcliffe and was wondering where I will be coming down – it looks like a very high building.”

Mrs Atkinson, of High Street, said: “It will be OK as long as I don’t look down initially.

“I’m incredibly lucky I can still ski and walk long distances when so many friends have heart problems.

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“My family think I’m mad, but I have quite an adventurous spirit.”

The mum-of-three and grandmother-of-nine is abseiling on behalf of friends who have had heart problems.

Mrs Atkinson was a cancer researcher in the School of Pathology at Oxford University, and research assistant to a professor of Botany at Stanford University, before she married and became a full-time mum Mrs Young has volunteered at the British Red Cross charity shop in Woodstock for more than 40 years.

The hospital runs about three abseil events a year. This year’s are on Sundays, May 18, June 15 and September 21.

Hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “Jenny and Adriana are quite simply an inspiration.

“We hope their courage and enthusiasm will inspire others to join them.”

The May 18 event is raising money for the Oxford Heart Centre, Heads Up – head and neck cancer, Ward 7D and Adams and Bedford Wards for older patients, the Paediatric Eye Fund, and the JR Ashfield Trust supporting parents who have miscarried or lost babies.

For more information or to take part, visit hospitalcharity.co.uk/abseils, email charity@ouh.nhs.uk, or call 01865 743444.

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