Town woman flying high to celebrate milestone birthday

Mrs Josephine Lavery who took to the sky for her 80th Birthday. INLM50-111gc
Mrs Josephine Lavery who took to the sky for her 80th Birthday. INLM50-111gc
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Lurgan woman Josephine Lavery celebrated her 80th birthday in style in the front seat of a helicopter, flying high above Northern Ireland.

She was a sprightly 60 years of age when she decided that a trip in a helicopter would be the perfect way to celebrate becoming an octogenarian.

Josephine explained: “There was one day I was watching television and I saw a wee woman coming down off a helicopter.

“I think she was about 80 or 90 and I said to myself, that’s for me.”

Josephine was 60 at the time, so had to wait 20 years before going up, up and away.

She wasn’t going to let her family forget, constantly dropping hints between then and now that a helicopter flight was the only present she desired for her eightieth birthday.

She said: “I didn’t want a party so I asked them would it be possible to go in a helicopter. It wasn’t a surprise. I’d gone on about it enough so they wouldn’t forget.”

The flight took place from Ulster Flying Club in Newtownards, organised by Josephine’s children.

In the helicopter were Josephine, her daughters Patricia and Linda and the pilot.

The 80-year-old, who grew up in the Tullydagan area and now lives in Grattan Street said: “It was great. I really enjoyed it. I’d go back in the morning again.

“I don’t know that area well so the only landmark I recognised was Scrabo Tower.

“It was a really clear day and you could see over to Scotland. It was just amazing being up there.

“I was sitting in the front seat shaking my hand. I was laughing the whole time.

“I wasn’t nervous at all.

“That was the best present I’ve ever received, and truly a birthday I’ll never forget.”

Josephine said there had been talk of a trip in a hot air balloon for her 90th birthday, but she dismissed it as being nothing more than hot air.

While Josephine and her daughters were up in the air her sizeable family were on the ground cheering her on.

Josephine and her late husband Francis have six children, 19 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. If she’d wanted to get airborne with her whole family they’d have needed to hire a commercial airplane.

Her grandson Daniel Coleman said of his gran: “She’s amazing. She shows you’re never too old to give new experiences a go.”