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Super Seniors: 100 Years old & Jumping out of Planes for Charity

19 September 2016

  • Oldest Virgin Money Giving fundraiser Verdun Hayes skydives in his centenary year
  • Marathons, mountain climbs and cycle rides among the fundraising activities undertaken by those aged 80 plus
  • Less than half of older adults meet the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week - but activity helps stave off illness, depression and improves quality of life

While most of us think of retirement as a time to play golf and drink endless cups of tea in garden centre cafes, the current generation of those in retirement are proving us wrong.

Data from Virgin Money Giving shows that more and more retirees are getting involved in life-changing challenges and events to raise funds for their choice of good cause while staying healthy.

The NHS recommend that pensioners remain active if they wish to stay healthy and independent as many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down. However, the NHS says there is strong evidence showing that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

One pensioner who is definitely active is 100 year-old ex-serviceman Verdun Hayes. Adrenalin junkie Verdun is the oldest fundraiser on Virgin Money Giving and he undertook a 10,000 feet Tandem Sky Dive at Dunkeswell Airfield near Honiton raising over £4,000 for North Devon Hospice.

Verdun said: "I am 100 years old and the thrill of jumping out of an aircraft thousands of feet above the ground was truly exhilarating and it was all for the North Devon Hospice. I was so pleased to have raised over £4,000 for this great charity, I am already thinking about what my next challenge could be. Working with my charity coordinator it was very easy to set up my Virgin Money Giving page. It was amazing sitting in the care home checking out my fundraising page and seeing people I had never met before donate to my cause."

He's not the only one - our super seniors are also running in the Virgin Money London Marathon and climbing the three highest mountains in the UK.

Oldest Virgin Money Giving Fundraisers

NameAgeActivity undertakenCharityRegion
Verdun Hayes100Tandem SkydiveNorth Devon HospiceDevon
Mike Michaelsen99Cycling eventQueen Elizabeth Hospital, BirminghamNewark
Jean Myles90Zip Wire ChallengeThe Rainbow CentrePortsmouth
Iva Barr88Virgin Money London MarathonWhizz KidsBedford

90 year old Jean Myles raised money for the Rainbow Centre by taking part in a 300 metre Zip Wire Challenge 35 feet above Lakeside North Harbour.

Jean said: "Some of my family think that I am slightly crazy but I proved that you are never too old to try something new. At 90 years of age I thought it was about time that I lived a little and did something adventurous, so that is why I have signed up to do the Zip Wire Challenge."

She added: "I think the Rainbow Centre do a marvellous job helping the children and adults learn how to do things like walk and talk. The charity really inspires me so I was extremely pleased to have taken on this challenge to support them. Many years ago one of my granddaughters used to call me 'Super Gran' because I rode a push bike, so just think what my great grandchildren will call me now I've done this!"

Jo Barnett, Executive Director of Virgin Money Giving said: "Age is proving no barrier for fundraisers and they are taking on a host of adventurous activities and challenges to support their chosen charity. Jumping from a plane aged 100 – not a problem. Virgin Money Giving is proud to support fundraisers of all ages and we're delighted that older fundraisers are using us as their fundraising platform of choice. They have embraced the digital age and have realised the benefits of fundraising online."

ENDS

Media Contacts
Virgin Money Press Office:
0191 279 4676
press.office@virginmoney.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Virgin Money Giving

  • Virgin Money Giving is the not-for-profit online fundraising website from Virgin Money and was established in 2009. Virgin Money uses its infrastructure and expertise as a financial services business to ensure that Virgin Money Giving is efficient and secure
  • More than 11,500 charities have registered with Virgin Money Giving and, by the end of June 2016, over £475 million had been raised for charity through the service since its launch in 2009, resulting in an estimated £15 million more raised for charity because of its not-for-profit model
  • Virgin Money Giving charges charities the minimum fees needed to cover the running costs of the site. It is free for fundraisers and charges a transaction fee of 2% on all donations before Gift Aid, plus a card processing fee, which means that for every £10 raised, charities receive £12.15.
  • Fundraisers can personalise their fundraising pages, send out email alerts and manage their fundraising events. They can include their own content, photos and links to their page as well as customise messages for their supporters and link their page to social networking sites. Virgin Money Giving provides fundraising ideas and tips, offering help and advice on how to raise more for charity. In addition to supporting individual fundraisers, Virgin Money Giving also supports Appeals, Corporate and In Memory fundraising.
  • Virgin Money Giving is the official fundraising partner of events that include the Virgin Money London Marathon, Swim Serpentine, Kiltwalk, Prudential Ride London and the Royal Parks Half Marathon.