“I want to do this to prove to myself that I still can” were the daring words of the 93 year old Gloucestershire grandmother, Betty, who was strapped to the wings of a biplane in support of Sue Ryder.
It was the fifth wing walk for daredevil pensioner Betty Bromage, from Cheltenham, who first decided to take on the hair raising fundraising challenge at the age of 87.
“You never know what you can do until you try,” shares Betty. “I was in my late 80s when I first tried this. Before that the most dangerous thing I did was riding horses!”
“Wing walking is not something I had ever really thought about, but I wanted to raise funds for charity so I started to look into the things I could do. At my age I can’t run, so I looked for other ideas and took inspiration from the Crunchie wing walking advert. I thought ‘I reckon I could do that’ and that’s what started me off!”
Since then, intrepid adventurer Betty has completed four wing walks, the world’s fastest Zip Wire in Snowdon and abseiled down the 161 foot Eagle Tower in Cheltenham, raising over £23,000 for local charities through her fearless fundraising.
Having had a pacemaker fitted in the past 12 months and arthritis in her neck, Betty had been wondering whether she could still soar through the skies, but she successfully completed her fifth flight on Thursday 4th August, and is now thought to be the oldest wing walker to do aerobatics after completing a loop-the-loop.
Taking to the skies
Speaking after the wing walk, she said: “It was great. My cheeks were going in the wind a bit up there, but I really enjoyed it. I wanted to prove that I could still do it! As you get older, things aren’t as easy as they used to be, but I really wanted to give it a go - what have you got to lose at my age!”
Betty’s family joined her on the day to watch the flight and she says they have been brilliant supporters of her daredevil fundraising antics over the years.
“My dear daughter-in-law and grandsons back me up all the way,” adds Betty. “They are always there for me to give me a hand - or push me and pull me, one or the other! I am so lucky to have their support.”
Through her latest soaring escapade Betty was raising vital funds for our charity for the second time.
“Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice helps so many people. They looked after my sister-in-law and they were so kind to her. They cared for a few of my friends over the years too. They are such a genuine charity.”
Be more like Betty
Not only did Betty want to raise vital funds, but she hoped to inspire others too.
“I think we should all do some good and we need to help one another. That is what we are here for. There are a lot of very kind people out there and if we can help our neighbour and help our friend then we should. I have always tried to do that as it was the way I was brought up.”
Betty shared this final tip for anyone inspired to take on something out of the ordinary, “You never know what you are going to do in this life, and I say you should always have a go. There is no harm in failing but at least you have tried."
If you don’t try you don’t know. That’s my attitude and if I fail I fail, but I hope I don’t!
Get behind Betty's wing walking challenge
Show your support for Betty and donate towards her high-flying fundraiser online