Daredevil grandma of six from Leeds to take on epic wing walk at Church Fenton to raise money for charity

A daredevil grandma of six from Ilkley is set to take on an epic wing walk at Church Fenton to raise money for a charity which helps children with additional needs.

By Daniel Sheridan
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 4:30 pm

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Valerie Appleton, 78, is taking on the challenge on June 19 at Leeds East Airfield to raise money for local charity LS29.

The charity relies solely on fundraising and voluntary donations.

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Valerie Appleton, 78, is taking on the challenge on June 19 at Leeds East Airfield to raise money for local charity LS29. Pic: Tony Johnson

Adrenaline junkie Valerie has taken on a host of amazing challenges in recent years including a zipline over the Cow and Calf, a balloon flight and two sky dives.

She has been inspired to take on the wing walk from a scene in one of her favourite films - Flying Down to Rio with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.

Despite the scene using fakery, Valerie is taking advantage in a huge leap in technology which will now allow her to replicate the showgirls dancing on the wings of a plane.

Speaking to the YEP, she said she hoped to raise enough money to pay for an adventure holiday for the children who benefit from the incredible work of the charity.

Valerie Appleton, 78, is taking on the challenge on June 19 at Leeds East Airfield to raise money for local charity LS29. Pic: Tony Johnson

She said: "I am lucky to have had six grandchildren so I understand how much time and energy children take.

"The parents of special needs children need support to enable them to give these children the best facilities and care to develop their potential.

"I am anxious to raise as much money as I can to help their cause."

LS29 uses “Dan’s Den” Soft Play Facility at Christchurch, Ilkley near Valerie's home every Tuesday where the children and parents can meet up socially.

Dan’s Den was opened seven years ago in July after a vision from the church to provide a play centre for local children.

"I specifically chose this charity to raise money for an adventure holiday for the children", she added.

Valerie said she had "always had a dare devil streak".

"To get into training I have visited Blackpool Pleasure Beach along with staff from Dan’s Den and tested my pacemaker out riding the roller coasters.

"I was assured at Airedale Hospital that I was quite safe to tackle the Wing Walk.

"I am so lucky to have good health but I honestly believe that part of that is attitude.

"No such word as can't, tackle it and get on with it.

"Try everything, no worries, believe in yourself and laugh.

"Laughing is the best medicine in the world."

Valerie told the YEP she couldn't wait to take on the challenge she had dreamt about since seeing the film as a child.

"I attended ballet classes so it really appealed to me", she added.

"Not realising at that age that Hollywood was “Fake” I truly believed that it was possible.

"Now it is, so it had to go on my bucket list."

Founded in 2006 by a group of parents who were unhappy with the lack of support in the area, LS29 Group is for families of children with additional needs.

It now has over 140 members and organises a wide range of outings and activities throughout the year for families who have children with additional needs.

The website states: "Our aim is to provide opportunities for the whole family to take part in activities they may not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in, try new challenges, meet friends and develop a support network and of course, have fun."