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Daredevil Hartlepool pensioner fulfils wing-walking dream - aged 72

Tom doing the wing walk. Photo by Tom's nephew Garry Brown.
Tom doing the wing walk. Photo by Tom's nephew Garry Brown.

Hartlepool pensioner Tom Wilson was walking on the air when he fulfilled a daring ambition at the age of 72.

Tom completed a wing walk when he was strapped to the wings of a bi-plane giving him the ultimate adrenaline rush and raising more than £3,000 for charity in the process.

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

He was watched by 30 family friends and supporters at as he zoomed through the air travelling at 135mph over Breighton Aerodrome, near Selby, North Yorkshire.

Tom, of Elwick Road, said: “It was absolutely brilliant. I don’t know how high up I was but when I looked at a photo afterwards it was a lot higher than I thought.

“When the plane took off I didn’t know because it was that smooth.

“The pilot was fantastic. We got to the end of the runway and looked down the other side and realised we were up, the cars were tiny.

“I thought it would be cold but it was lovely and quite warm.

“I was a bit overdressed for the occasion.”

Tom spent ten minutes in the air before touching back down to safety.

He added: “I expected when my feet touched the floor that my legs would be like jelly but it was just as though I hadn’t been up.

“I didn’t feel queasy or anything and I’m a bad traveller.”

Tom, a retired forklift engineer, aimed to raise £2,500 from the feat for three causes close to his heart.

But he smashed that by raising more than £3,000 with some sponsorship still to come in.

Tom paid for the wing walk himself so all the money from supporters will go directly to his chosen causes.

He also has tickets to auction to watch Manchester United play Newcastle at Old Trafford donated by his former employers Doosan Rushlift.

The money will go to Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association, as Tom experienced sight problems in the past.

A share will also go to the Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust due to his love of steam.

Tom got the idea for the wing walk after watching someone do it at the Sunderland airshow.

He has been sponsored by numerous local businesses including Dot’s Place cafe, Hartlepool Cricket Club and The Globe pub.

He was given a £250 cheque from Victoria House Funeral Service on the day plus £100 cash from Flaxton Street Wrought Iron, and £100 from Chequered Flag in Elwick Road.