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Saturday, 2 May, 1998, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Old and bold
Concorde takes ooff
Eva goes airborne as Concorde takes her on a trip of a lifetime
Eva Woodman has become the oldest person to go supersonic by flying on Concorde at the age of 105.

Wheelchair-bound Eva, who lives in a nursing home at Frenchay, Bristol, was taken on a 90-minute flight over the Bay of Biscay at speeds of up to 1,350mph.

It was the first time widow Eva had left Britain - and only the second time she has left Bristol.

Eva Woodman
With some help, Eva comes back down to earth
Mrs Woodman was an 11-year-old girl when the Wright brothers made history with the first powered flight in 1903. Since then she has dreamed of flying in an aeroplane.

Eva sipped champagne and tucked into a meal during her supersonic round trip from Filton in Bristol where Concorde was built.

She said: "It was wonderful. We didn't have planes when I was younger and I have always wondered what it was like.

"We didn't think about going abroad in my day, like they do today. But I think there's nothing like it."

Nurse Liz Stephens, 50, who cares for Eva at the Clarendon House nursing home, accompanied Eva on her 1,200 trip.

She said: "Eva told us on her 105th birthday that the one thing she still wanted to do in life was to fly and we said she should do it in style by going supersonic.

"She wasn't a bit nervous or worried by it all - she even put me to shame because I had a few butterflies in my stomach during the take-off. She is an amazing lady."

Staff at the nursing home laid on a surprise party for Eva when she returned from her trip - complete with a cake in the shape of Concorde.

Mrs Stephens added: "She was completely taken aback when she got home but then she started telling everybody all about her trip.

"She is a very fit and healthy lady who gets up at 6.30am every day, reads at least three newspapers and loves a good book. She is never in bed before 10.30pm.

"It came as a surprise to me when she said she wanted to fly but it was definitely something she enjoyed."

Philip Coles, who owns the nursing home, said he was planning to frame Eva's flight certificate and put it on display.

He said: "She is a remarkable lady."

BBC News
Eva Woodman on her supersonic flight (9')
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