Fearless fundraisers complete dizzying wing walk
Two fearless fundraisers completed a dizzying wing-walk for charity last week and now they’re urging other adrenaline junkies to follow their example and sign up for the challenge.
Yvonne Stannard and Sara Coates, both from Leek, have completed a number of fundraising challenges to raise vital cash for Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
But the pair say that their most recent challenge, which took place at RFC Rendcombe Aerodrome, Gloucestershire, was their toughest to date.
“We’ve climbed mountains, raced dragon boats, walked over hot coals and even run a three-legged race together up the famous Mow Kop, in Staffordshire,” explained 49-year-old Sara. “We’ve been supporting the charity since 2012 after we met volunteering on a holiday that the charity had organised to Florida.
“The trip gave 25 children, with life limiting conditions, a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disney World.”
At the time the pair both worked for NHS North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust and they’ve been passionately fundraising for the charity ever since.
“This was the most challenging fundraiser yet,” said 57-year-old Yvonne. “We’ve held curry nights, a darts marathon and band nights but this really tested our mental strength.
“Sara hates doing heights, she can’t even look down on an escalator, and she always needs to be in control.
“Whilst I hate rollercoasters, I can’t stand the constant motion on them, so I was really quiet frightened.
“I was extremely nervous getting onto the wing but what really surprised me was how cold it was, even though it was a bright and warm day.
“The force of the air on my head gave me serious head freeze and at one point I thought that I would have to give the signal for the piolet to take me down.
“But after several minutes my head went numb and I could actually begin to enjoy it, although I didn’t think that the plane would fly as high as it did!”
Until recently fundraising wing-walks have been prohibited, but recent changes in the regulations means that members of the public can finally realise their dreams and raise money for good causes through this kind of challenge.
Wing walking, which began in the early 1900s, involves being securely strapped on the wings of a bi-plane as it takes to the skies for a 10 minute flight at speeds of up to 130mph!
Having worked in the NHS for many years Sara and Yvonne know only too well how important Caudwell Children’s services are. As Sara explained: “Caudwell Children provide access to the services, equipment, therapies and treatments that disabled children need to lead happy, active and independent lives.
“So the more people who sign up to undertake a wing-walk the more children they can support, and whilst flying suits aren’t the most flattering people should be prepared to don one to undertake this challenge and raise even more funds.
“Now that we’ve survived this crazy stunt we want to say thank you to all those who have support us.”
Once Yvonne and Sara were strapped into the five-point safety harness, on the top wing of a biplane, they took to the skies, making zooms, climbs and passes over watching friends and family.
“Wing walkers must be over 18 years old and must be between 5 and 6 feet tall and weigh less than 12 stone,” said Vicky Glanville, from Caudwell Children. “You’ll also need to be agile enough to climb up to the top wing of the aircraft, which is around 10ft.”
You can support Sara and Yvonne through their Just Giving page here.
To find out more and to book your place on a wing walk ring Vicky on 01782 433755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can register for a wing-walk online here.