Feist great-grandmother who is blind in one eye celebrates 101st birthday by driving a tank
A feisty great-grandmother celebrated her 101st birthday by driving a TANK.
Despite being blind in one eye, intrepid Hilda Jackson was determined to drive a 100,000 FV432 tank even for just a few metres for her birthday.
The former nurse, who has 11 great-grandchildren, finally completed her dream at the Tank School in Usk, South Wales, and celebrated by sipping on a glass of sherry in the cockpit.
Hilda’s 72-year-old daughter Margaret Austin said her mum had wanted to do it for her last few birthdays and would not be deterred despite her health issues.
Margaret, from Abergavenny, South Wales, said: “Mum was very thrilled about it all.
“I thought it would be great for mum to get a chance to sit in the tank.
“But she told me ‘I’m not going to go all the way there without going into the cockpit’ she’s quite feisty.
“Only one person can be in it at a time so once she was in the driver seat she asked how to switch it on.
“The instructor said that wouldn’t be the best idea, but she turned it on anyway.
“She was surprised and pleased because she was afraid that the noise would be too loud for her.”
Hilda has always been fascinated with driving and even went on a five-month car drive around Europe in the 1950s with her visiting relatives from Australia.
Alastair Scott, proprietor of the Tank School, at Little Trostrey near Kemeys, said: “It was a great pleasure and honour to have Hilda visit us last Sunday and get her at the controls of a tank.
“Hilda was by far our eldest tank driver the youngest was nine she won all our hearts and admiration.”
Hilda’s fun knows no bounds, either it seems.
The elderly daredevil has other plans for her ever-growing wish list with sky-diving seemingly on the agenda.
Margaret added: “She noticed they had planes there and then that triggered something in her – she said that she’d love to ‘float out of the sky’ in one.
“She has a very active mind.”