Eve Hanney, of Weymouth, England, is a darling of Chinese kiting, often photographed, filmed, and interviewed. “The Kiteflying Granny,” she is called. After eight trips to China, she knows her way around politically. “I’m aiming for a front row seat with the top officials at the 2008 yachting Olympics in Chingdao,” she says. “That’s my goal. I’m not looking beyond ’08, when I’ll be 74.”
Having grown up on the Dorset coast where there is usually a good wind, Eve flew kites as a girl. But she really discovered them on her first trip to China in 1988, taken as the culmination of a life-long dream, when she saw classical beauties for sale and bought some. “I never do things by half,” she says. “I do things over the top. The wind is free, so I thought to myself, ‘Let’s start flying them.’” And fly them she did.
She became interested enough to go to a kite fly in Bristol, near her home, and buy a Japanese Sugura at auction. After sparring it, she launched it, “and to my amazement it flew. It was really quite beautiful. It generated excitement in me.”