Old age is plane sailing!
I may be almost 90, but I’m still setting records
The idea just came to me one day last year…
I want to do a wing walk, I thought.
Sounds crazy, but I’d been thinking about taking on a challenge before I turned 90.
Already 87, I needed to settle on something soon. And soaring through the air on a plane’s wing seemed a fun idea. ‘You’re mad!’ friends told me. But I couldn’t wait to feel the wind in my hair.
I decided to raise money for Midlands Air Ambulance. As a former nurse, it’s a charity I’m passionate about.
Friends and family got involved, and someone set up a Justgiving page. Soon, donations started pouring in.
‘You’re one brave lady,’ someone told me.
Truth was, I wasn’t even nervous – just really excited!
Last September, it was time to take to the skies. So I went to Gloucestershire Airport, with family and friends for support.
They looked on as I was led to a 1944 Boeing-stearman plane.
‘You all look more nervous than me,’ I laughed, seeing their terrified faces.
I was helped up onto the wings and strapped into the seat. ‘Ready?’ my instructor asked. ‘Absolutely!’ I beamed. Instead of shaking like jelly with nerves, I have to admit I was buzzing with excitement.
As the plane took off, I couldn’t stop grinning.
The wind on my face felt fantastic, as I soared through the air at 400ft, with the plane doing 90mph. I felt like a bird. ‘Higher!’ I yelled, as the aircraft climbed to 500ft.
The whole experience was exhilarating, and I was still smiling as we landed.
‘I’ve never had so much fun!’ I cheered – and I’d raised £1,100 for the charity, too!
After, I wasn’t ready to put my thrill-seeking days to bed – I was thirsty for more. ‘I want to do it again,’ I told my friends at my retirement home, Abbeyfield, in Cheltenham.
So I raised another £2,000 for the charity. And, in June, I took to the skies again.
Strapped in, I gave a thumbsup signal. Like before, the plane soared to an incredible 500ft. Only, this time, I’d asked the pilot for a more thrilling ride… ‘Do a half-loop,’ I’d requested. As the plane rose and fell, my adrenaline was pumping.
The whole flight lasted about 15 minutes, and I was gutted when it was over.
‘You haven’t seen the last of me,’ I told staff at the airport.
Who knows, maybe next time I’ll go for the full loop-the-loop!
I’ve since learnt that I’m Britain’s oldest lady wing walker. And I’m proof that you’re never too old to reach for the skies!
This time, I’d asked the pilot to do a half-loop