High hopes: Irene turns 90 this month. Photograph: Irene Lewington

How would you mark the occasion of your 90th birthday? A nice meal with friends and family? A surprise party? Not Hackney’s Irene Lewington.

The soon-to-be nonagenarian has announced she will celebrate reaching the milestone by jumping out of a plane and raising money for St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney Central.

Irene, who was born and bred in the borough, will complete her skydive on 21 May. She is also a keen drag racer and go-karter.

Irene chose to fundraise for St Joseph’s in memory of friends who have died at the hospice in recent years.

She believes it’s the best place for people to rest up when they’re ill.

St Joseph’s, founded in 1905, is one of the oldest and largest hospices in Britain. It cares for over 4,000 people a year from the diverse communities of East London, but has to find £16 million every year to fund its care – more than half of that through charitable donations.

Irene has set a target of £600, and was just over halfway there at time of writing.

You can help Irene reach her goal by donating at bit.ly/ireneskydive

Support us


The coronavirus outbreak has meant that the Hackney Citizen has been unable to print a monthly newspaper for the last three months.

The need for quality news and reliable reporting is crucial - however, this is an increasingly challenging time for local journalism.

Our main source of income, print advertising revenue, fell suddenly - and so we are asking you, the readers, for your help.A one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team get our newspaper back in print and keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

Find out how you can donate.

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.