Daredevil, 80, to take the plunge for charity

Shirley Bentley
Shirley Bentley

A Little Hayfield resident is celebrating her 80th birthday by skydiving to raise money for charity.

Shirley Bentley said she decided to do the skydive because she wanted to do something exciting for her birthday and “grow old disgracefully.”

Shirley will be raising money for Free the Bears UK.

Shirley will be raising money for Free the Bears UK.

“I’m really looking forward to it, although I’m sure on the day I’ll be feeling more than a little bit apprehensive,” Shirley explained.

She is taking the plunge for Free the Bears UK, a charity which aims to stop the exploitation of bears and protect them from hunters and poachers.

She decided to support the charity after travelling out to Laos with her son Mike Brocklehurst, 52, who works for the charity there protecting the Asian black bears, known as Moon Bears.

Shirley said: “I stayed out there for a month or so and naturally grew quite attached to the bears, particularly this one bear called ChamPa.

“She was in a bit of a bad way but she was a lovely creature full of character.”

While she was there, an operation, which was a world-first for neurosurgery, was carried out on ChamPa to save her life. That was two years ago and the bear is still alive and well but in need of some new accommodation, which Shirley will be contributing to with the skydive.

The jump takes place one day after her actual birthday on June 5, and she will be jumping with Free the Bears’ CEO Mark Hunt.

To donate to the charity and support Shirley and Mark, go to www.justgiving.com/Matt-Hunt5.