Mandurah: Billie is back on the streets with a new love

Mandurah: Billie is back on the streets with a new love

BELINDA (Billie) Gibson and her beloved dog Gypsy have been a familiar sight for many years as they walked the streets of Mandurah.

Gypsy died just before Christmas at the age of 14 and many people have been asking after her.

She is buried beneath a fig tree in the garden and now Ms Gibson is striding out along the streets with five-year-old assistance labrador Rio.

Ms Gibson is partially sighted after a parachuting accident in 1990.

In 1985, she was the first woman in the military forces to make 100 parachute jumps.

Rio.

She was also the first woman to jump at night from 10,000 feet with full combat equipment weighing 70kg.

But in 1990, while doing routine target practice from 10,000 feet onto HMAS Albatross with fellow parachute riggers, wind turbulence and an unfamiliarity with a new parachute, caused her canopy to collapse as she turned to hit the target.

She fell 40 metres, hitting the target but suffering severe injuries including partial blindness, resulting in her medical discharge from the Army just one month before her promotion to sergeant.

Ms Gibson paid tribute to WA Dog Training Academy principle instructor Claire Lathouras who trained both Gypsy and Rio.