Elderly Kenilworth woman taking on 100mph zip wire in memory of husband

Ivan and Brenda Orton
Ivan and Brenda Orton

An elderly Kenilworth woman is taking on the fastest zip wire in the world in the memory of her late husband.

Brenda Orton, 73, will reach speeds of 100mph while zooming down the mile-long ‘Zip World Velocity’ line in Bethesda, Wales, to raise money for charity Parkinson’s UK.

Alongside raising money for the charity, Brenda is also dedicating her efforts to her husband Ivan, who died in 2013 at the age of 80 after a 17-year battle with Parkinson’s.

Ivan ran former travel agents Kenilworth Travel in Station Road between 1968 and 1998, but his deteriorating health meant he could no longer run the shop effectively.

Brenda is a committee member of Parkinson’s UK’s Leamington branch, which provides a respite service for carers looking after Parkinson’s sufferers once a month at Helen Ley Care Home near Kenilworth.

Other members are also raising money for the charity in their own ways.

Brenda said: “There are three of us doing the zip wire, and one of the older volunteers is doing it.

“I thought if he could do it then why can’t I do it?

“My sister went there to see it with me in Bethesda, and we thought it looked pretty awesome.

“I’ve raised almost £400 so far, but I’m trying to raise as much as I can.”

She started attending the respite service at the home after Ivan was diagnosed with the condition.

But the service is in danger of stopping completely after the charity’s finances have has fallen on hard times in recent years due to donations drying up. The service costs around £600 a month to maintain.

Brenda added: “The money is just not coming in like it used to. We had one or two large donations from people’s wills recently, but it’s not enough.

“In the past people were very generous, but it’s difficult in the current economic climate.

“The service provides much-needed respite for carers - just a day on your own is worth gold when you’re a carer.

“If the service goes carers probably won’t get any respite at all. Many are not particularly well-off and can’t afford private care.

“There are other charities that carers can use but there’s an awfully long queue for them.”

Brenda will be flying down the zip wire on Saturday September 24 and aims to raise as much as possible before the big day.

Riders can reach speeds of over 100mph on the zip wire, which is the longest in Europe.

On particularly windy days, parachutes need to be used to prevent riders reaching dangerously excessive speeds.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Brenda should visit her Just Giving page here.