The sky was the limit for this all-girl Sunderland parachute team in 1982

A quartet of women were falling from the skies in the Sunderland area 37 years ago.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 14th June 2019, 3:26 pm
Three of the Sunderland Fall Girls parachute team in 1982. Pictured left to right are Marian Blenkiron, Pat Rice and Maureen Toward.

Here are the Fall Girls pictured in 1982. They were the only women’s parachute team in the country at the time.

They hadn’t long formed when the Echo caught up with them but they had already been booked solid that summer for shows and fetes across the North East.

The line-up consisted of Pat Rice, Marian Blenkiron, Maureen Toward and Allison Busfield. Pictured are, left to right, Marian, Pat and Maureen.

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Allison and Maureen had been jumping for five years and Pat was a relative veteran with seven years experience at the time. But Marian was the newest to the scene with two years of parachuting behind her.

All four were based at Sunderland Flying Club and an Echo article at the time said: “There is no shortage of volunteers to pilot them for their practices and displays.”

The Fall Girls jumped from a Cessna 207 and did it from 5,000ft. They had a routine which included linking up in formation in the air, and a canopy stack where they would be one above the other.

Maureen said in 1982: “For a long time, they have wanted a girls team at Sunderland Airport but there have not been enough experienced girls and it is only now that there are four of us of the same standard.”