82-year-old Jane from Castleford in West Yorkshire is a remarkable woman.

Jane had a long career in nursing and occupational therapy, despite all the odds, eventually retiring at the age of 78 as a Passenger Transport Assistant for children with special needs. At the age of 60 she did an abseil from one of the tallest buildings in Leeds and at 80 she jumped out of an aeroplane - thankfully to do a tandem parachute jump to raise money for Alzheimer’s UK. Her great grandson is determined that, when he turns 18, they’ll do a wing walk together.

The middle child of five, Jane grew up in Barrow-in-Furness, often referred to as the longest cul-de-sac in the country. Her father, who she describes as being 'a bit like Captain Mannering from Dad’s Army', believed that once girls left school at 16, they should go out to work. But Jane had other ideas and she ran away from home to become a cadet nurse in Preston as soon as she had the opportunity.

It was whilst she was as a nurse that Jane met her husband, a patient at the time, and they went on to have five children, before he sadly passed away at the age of 56. Together they owned and ran a sub-post office and shop, whilst Jane continued working night shifts as a nurse in order to help pay back the mortgage. Once they were finally debt free, Jane went on to work as an Occupational Health Nurse for 20 years. Today, she gets great pleasure from her role as a steward for the Associated Board for the Royal College of Music and she loves travelling to visit her family in Canada, Italy and Australia.

Four years ago, Jane donated her kidney to a stranger, becoming the oldest person at Leeds hospital to donate an organ. A year later, she received an anonymous letter from the recipient, who was living a happy and healthy life. She describes it as the most precious letter she has ever received.

“I would encourage anyone who can to donate. It’s painless and I was home two days later. It’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned.”

Jane has a great relationship with her grandchildren. She told us:

“My great grandson doesn’t see me as old because I love to play. The little ones don’t see age, they only see activity.”

She joined a Re-engage online activity group in West Yorkshire this year and is very grateful for the opportunity to take part in the weekly sessions.

“They’re very gentle and they get me loosened up. I live on my own and so it can be hard to motivate myself. But the classes give me reason to be active. I did tai chi many years ago and my father practiced yoga until the day he died. I’m always there, at the start of every class, logged on and ready to go.

"But having been a nurse for many years, I don’t take my body too seriously. None of us get out of here alive so everything else is smoke and mirrors. We don’t own anything on this planet – we’re just passing through and I’m thankful for every day that I have on this earth.”

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