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Anne Chapman, from Sutton Valence sets herself 60 challenges in her 60th year

By Claire McWethy

Life begins at 60 - just ask Maidstone grandmother Anne Chapman.

Far from content to celebrate her milestone year with a slice of cake, she has set herself 60 challenges to complete before her next birthday.

Some tasks are on the adventurous side – like indoor skydiving, speed boating along the Thames and climbing a mountain – whereas others are things she has forgotten how to do, like climbing a tree and diving into a swimming pool.

Anne Chapman eating oysters as part of her 60 things in 60 challenge
Anne Chapman eating oysters as part of her 60 things in 60 challenge

She will also try to have her photograph taken with a celebrity and abseil - but has drawn the line at wing walking.

Anne, a legal secretary who lives in Sutton Valence, , said: “It is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a few years now. For my 50th I went backpacking around Thailand so I wanted to do something else exciting at 60. I don’t think I’ll be up for doing 70 things at 70 so it’s now or never.

“I’m frightened of everything but the thing I’m most scared of is the speed boat as they go so fast. I’m not depressed about my age, and I just hope it will provide inspiration for other people to do more things.”

Her wish list began with a cruise around the Canary Islands, and a reunion with school friends she hasn’t seen for 40 years.

She is also leaving 60 hidden postcards explaining her challenge and inviting the people who find them to send her one in return.

One of the 60 postcards Anne is hiding
One of the 60 postcards Anne is hiding

The first, a message in a bottle, was thrown into the Atlantic ocean, while others have been placed everywhere from a Lanzarote taxi to a Whitstable pub.

She has already had two responses. It equates to around five challenges a month, and since starting in March, Anne has already completed six, including a tandem bicycle ride with her daughter Lucy along the Tarka Trail in Devon, which follows a railway line closed in the 1960s.

She said: “It was amazing. I haven’t ridden a bike for years and the feeling of freedom and exhilaration were long-forgotten memories. I am really chuffed to have done it and my daughters are impressed with my ability to return with both myself and the tandem intact.”

Anne's tandem bike ride with daughter Lucy
Anne's tandem bike ride with daughter Lucy

But one challenge Anne hasn’t enjoyed was trying oysters at Whitstable’s fish market.

She said: “It was disgusting - that’s one thing I wouldn’t do again.”

Follow Anne’s adventures on Facebook.com/anne.chapman.39545 or via Twitter using the hashtag #60thingsat60.

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