Celebrating the life of Dilys Price OBE, Lab4Living Design4Ageing Academy Ambassador

Dilys Price

The Lab4Living team was sad to learn of the passing of Dilys Price OBE, dancer, educator and the world’s oldest female parachute jumper. A much loved speaker and frequent participant at Lab4Living events, Dilys collaborated more recently as a founding Ambassador for the new Design4Ageing Academy. Dilys died on 9 October 2020 at the age of 88. 

Dilys has a long history with Lab4living which began through collaboration with Prof Paul Chamberlain and his TacTile sounds system, a therapeutic and educational furniture system for people with sensory impairment. More recently Dilys was a keynote speaker at Lab4living’s ’Intersections of Practice’ symposium in 2017 and the international Design4health conference in 2018. It was at these events she claimed she had as much fun being around designers as she did with sky divers.

As Dilys has reminded us on several occasions, age need not be a barrier to seeking out new opportunities and experiences or to achieving what you want in life. She demonstrated the power of creativity, in particular dance and movement, to improve wellbeing.

Dilys challenges every pre-conceived notion we have as a society about ageing and exemplified the Lab4Living ethos. Active and creative to the end, she is an inspiration not only in how we might approach our own lives but in how we should treat and respect others. -Paul Chamberlain

As part of the 100-year life project, Lab4Living is recruiting a generation of older makers, designers, artists and creative practitioners to form the Design4Ageing Academy. Academy members will identify and lead research projects that focus on the design of products and services for present and future generations. Dilys became our first Academy Ambassador, helping shape its identity.

We were looking forward to her supporting the imminent launch of the Design4Ageing Academy initiative. We were very excited about the prospect of Dilys leading one of our projects and collaborating to extend our global network.

Dilys Price - Photo: Paul Chamberlain

Dilys Price – Photo: Paul Chamberlain

A dancer and teacher by training, Dilys Price championed services to improve the lives of people with disabilities for over 30 years. She was awarded an OBE for Services to Special Needs and Education in 2002 in recognition of her innovative work including the development of the Wales Sports Centre for people with disabilities and the foundation of the Touch Trust Charity for movement education for people with autism, dementia and profound disabilities.

In addition, Dilys was an inspirational speaker and famously held the Guinness World record as the Oldest Female Sky Diver. At 85 she had completed over 1,130 jumps and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Acknowledging that it might be time to slow down at the age of 86, Dilys told us during her keynote at the Design4Health conference in 2018 that she was no longer jumping solo. She confided to delegates that she would only be doing tandem jumps from now on.

We pay tribute to Dilys’s energy, creativity and commitment to positive change, and end with some words of advice from her 2018 presentation which, in these uncertain times, are perhaps more important than ever.

Be with people with a good energy
Have a project
Have a creative routine
Be useful
Be approved, respected
Where you are now is right
Be in an empowering environment
Be independent
Social, supportive community life
Encourage resiliency


Luckily, because I have all this…

The Lab4Living team, October 2020.