Daredevil gran Sue Brown flies in the face of her condition
SHE has climbed on Mount Everest, wing-walked on a flying biplane, been face-to-face with sharks and been strapped to a rocket.
Daredevil Sue Brown wanted to prove a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease was no barrier to living life to the full and has been performing eccentric and demanding stunts since she was 55.
The 68-year-old's first act was to climb to one of the base camps on the world's highest mountain, a feat she managed in 2000.
She has followed this up with about 10 other stunts – including bungee jumping, abseiling, sky-diving and fire-fighting.
And it is not just Sue who has been benefiting from the adrenaline rush, with her efforts raising about £10,000 for the charity Parkinson's UK.
It was four years after Sue started to notice a tremor in her hand – and more than 20 years ago – that she was diagnosed with Parkinson's.
Sue, who lives in Dale Road, Stanton-by-Dale, with husband Alan, 72, said she was determined to do as many stunts as she could.
She said: "I was devastated when I was diagnosed with Parkinson's but was determined that it was not going to get to me.
"Then I joined the local branch of Parkinson's UK. I met lots of younger people with it and I thought how terrible it must be for them, with mortgages and all the rest to deal with – particularly when it comes on so quickly.
"I realised that I needed to do things show them that, if I can do them, so can they.
"I'd always wanted to climb Mount Everest so that was the first thing I decided to do and it just went from there."
Among Sue's favourite antics was "wing-walking" at the International Air Show at RAF Waddington in 2003.
She was tied to the roof of a 1940s Bowing Stearman and flew 1,000ft over the Lincolnshire countryside.
Sue, who has two daughters and four grandchildren, said: "Wing-walking is absolutely fantastic. I was in the air for about half-an-hour. Because I can't walk very well, standing there and daring myself to do it was a great idea."
She also enjoyed her trip to South Africa last year – when she was up close and personal with sharks. Sue said: " I got into this cage where we had buckets of blood and gore to attract the sharks. It was really exciting."
In 2005, Sue travelled to New Zealand to be tied to a tethered rocket, which then flew across a canyon.
She said: "Jeremy Clarkson once tried it and I don't think he liked it very much but I really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed everything I've done."
Sue, who was the welfare officer for the Long Eaton branch of Parkinson's for 11 years, said she did not yet have her next stunt lined up.
Instead, she has taken on a safer project – raising funds for her exercise group for people with Parkinson's at the Noble Independent Living Centre in Leopold Street, Long Eaton.
Oliver Scott, of Noble Independent Living, said: "Sue is an inspiration to all who meet her. She is particularly keen to show younger people who suffer an early onset of disability that it is possible to carry on with a normal life."