Page07 - Local People: Peter Fenner

Over the edge at 75... No way!

It has been over three years since I left beloved Chorleywood and my many friends to reside near my daughters and their families in Gloucestershire.  I wondered at the time what life was going to be like but I still wished to keep in touch with many friends I had left behind. Living near to the Cotswold Water Park was strange at first. But when I became accustomed to the local area I found several interests that appealed to me: even at 77 I felt life was by no means over. Regular bike rides along the lakeside kept mefit and I yeamed to prove to all that even at my age there were several challenges I could still undertake. 

I have always had a desire to help local charities, particularly when they were contributing to deserving causes. Early this year I came across an article in my local newspaper which certainly caught my eye and my imagination. It was to abseil down the highest building in Cheltenham, the Eagle Tower - over 168 feet high. This was an oppommity too good to miss. The result of my taking part in this challenge was that I was able to raise through sponsorship from family and friends well over £800 for charities - The Cotswold Riding School for the Disabled and the Gloucestershire Multiple Sclerosis Society. From a personal point of view I wished to do this challenge in memory of three people who meant the world to me - my dear wife Sheila and my best fńends Val and Iolm Dewey now sadly deceased. A11 three of them went out of their way to help and support people so this seemed a fitting gesture to commemorate their lives. 

Not long after doing the abseil there became an opportunity to do wing walking. It was a real honour to be approved and accepted to join the Aero SuperBatics Team based at Rendcomb in Gloucestershire who are the wor1d’s only formation wing walking display team. Strapped on top of the Wings of a bi-plane can be a frightening experience. Even more so when it’s on the fringe of a thunderstorm which was the case on the day that I had come to do this! 

I think I rather put my family through it that day as they came to support me and watched me from the ground as the pilot did several steep climbs and dramatic swoops and dives. Some people may think I was taking undue risks, particularly my granddaughter Ava who asked her mother “should we really be letting him do this?” But to accomplish such a feat at my time of life gave me the feeling of doing something special when perhaps the more traditional way of thinking of retirement would be to take things easy. But you know the old saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. I can think of nothing more fulfilling than this. 

To my many friends in and around Chorleywood I extend my very best Wishes for a Happy New Year and may it bring you renewed vigor to fulfil challenges like I have, even if you are over 75!