Suffolk: Meet the 80-year-old with a fear of heights - who is preparing for wing walking stunt
STUTTON: Age is no barrier to hitting the heights – at least not for Ken Wilson.
The Stutton-based pensioner from Suffolk is set to confront his fear of heights by standing on an aircraft while it is hundreds of feet in the air.
The stunt is his courageous way of celebrating his 80th birthday as well as raising money for his favourite charities.
Ken has been preparing for his first ever ‘wing walk’ which he will complete on Saturday, May 28 at Oxford Airport.
Over the past six months, Ken has lost two stone in weight and received a medical letter declaring him fit to fly, although he still has to overcome his fear of heights before the big day.
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He said: “I’ve always fancied doing a wing walk and when my family asked how I’d like to celebrate my 80th birthday that’s what I asked for.
“I’m really looking forward to it. When I told my doctor what I wanted to do, she said “go for it.” And that’s my attitude to life. I’ve got a few aches and pains, but life couldn’t be better.”
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A retired agricultural machinery salesman, Ken said he aims to raise money for his two chosen charities – Ipswich Women’s Aid, which supports women and children who have suffered domestic abuse, and the Moriah Centre, a school and care centre in Swaziland.
Ken said Kathleen, his wife of 55 years, has mixed feelings about the daredevil challenge.
He said: “I wanted to do something different to celebrate my 80th birthday and thought this fitted the bill.
“Although I don’t like heights, I’m very excited by the challenge, but my wife has mixed feelings so I’m trying to convince her I’ll have my feet firmly back on the ground ready for my after-flight party.”
He added: “I didn’t want any presents and thought donations to Ipswich Women’s Aid, where my daughter is chief executive, and The Moriah Centre, which is supported by my granddaughter, would be much more worthwhile.”
Following the 20-minute wing walk, Ken will celebrate his remarkable achievement at a party for family and friends just outside Oxford.
Ken’s daughter and chief executive of Ipswich Women’s Aid, Sally Winston, said: “We all think dad is amazing.
“Not many 80-year-olds would even contemplate a wing walk, but dad can’t wait to do it. We are very grateful he has chosen to support Ipswich Women’s Aid and The Moriah Centre and we will all be there on the day to cheer him on.”
n If you would like to support Ipswich Women’s Aid and The Moriah Centre, please send your donations to Ipswich Women’s Aid, Westgate House, Museum Street, Ipswich, IP1 1HQ or call 01473 220770.
Please state that your donation is in aid of Ken’s Wilson’s Wing Walk.
Any money raised will be divided equally between the two charities.
n Are you taking on an unusual challenge? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788