High-flying Joan Dampney is taking to the skies strapped to the wing of an aeroplane – at the age of 85.
The death-defying stunt is to raise money for Autism Wessex, a charity that the plucky grandmother has worked for over many years.
Joan, who lives opposite Bournemouth Airport, says she has no fear whatever. She will be attached to the top of a biplane and will take to the skies from Compton Abbas airfield on 5 July flying at a thousand feet and reaching speeds of 100mph.
The octogenarian hopes to raise as much as possible for the charity and has a Just Giving Page at www.justgiving.com/Joan-Dampney where people can donate.
Autism Wessex provides three main areas of support to those affected by autism; Portfield School for education, residential and respite care, Community Wessex for social care services and a free ‘Advocacy and Advice’ service.
Joan said: “I did an abseil last year and wanted to do something else, but at first they wouldn’t let me do a wing walk because of my age, but then they changed their minds.
“My late husband Theo was a Para and jumped out of aeroplanes, but I didn’t want to do a parachute jump because of the risk of breaking bones. So a wing walk is the nearest thing. My children think I’m dotty but my grandchildren think it’s great. I’m not scared at all; either we crash or we land. But I hope to raise as much money as possible for the charity.
“I’ve been involved with Autism Wessex since it began in 1971 and have been a teacher at Portfield School in Parley and a deputy head and I’m still a governor and director.”
Becky Chalk, Community and Events Fundraiser at Autism Wessex, said: “We are so grateful for Joan raising this money in such a spectacular way.”