A 57-year-old adrenaline junkie has completed a breathtaking 1500ft wing walk – despite having no legs.
Thalidomide child Jackie Harper has never let her disability get in the way of adventure and her latest challenge has seen her strapped to a plane going 130mph.
The 2ft 8ins mum-of-two joined her daughter, Leanne Adiar, as they rode tandem on a biplane facing strong headwinds, to raise money for charity.
The incredible achievement was carried out at around 11am yesterday (Sun) at the Damyns Hall Aerodrome near Romford.
Due to her disability Jackie had to be helped into a specially-adapted seat and held in place with straps in order to successfully complete the ten minute-long wing-walk.
Speaking minutes after returning to the ground, Jackie said: “That experience was absolutely fantastic, I loved every minute of it.
She added: “This was a big personal challenge for me. Obviously I have no legs so things aren’t as easy for me as they are for others.
“But I really embraced it and am absolutely delighted with the way things went.
“I felt such a thrill and rush being up in the air like that, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
“I couldn’t be happier.”
The gran-of-five has decided the exhilarating adventure will be her last, as her disability has started to take its toll on her body.
But Jackie has been a terrific role model to her two daughters as she has battled through adversity over the years to complete two parachute jumps, crawl 22 miles from Workington to Keswick in the Lake District, scuba dive, undertaken a gruelling obstacle course and even finished the Great North Run.
In those years, Jackie, who now lives in Wakefield, West Yorks., has raised thousands for charity.
Jackie said: “My arms have suffered a lot of wear and tear over the years as I use them to get about.
“I also have trouble with my neck and back as I use my teeth to do a lot of things. I will use my arms to walk and my teeth to grab.
“I have done a lot over the years and never given in to my disability, you do not know what you are capable of until you try. You’ve got to have a go at things.”
Jackie has stayed strong through a good diet.
“As you can imagine,” said Jackie, “I don’t need as much food as a full-bodied person, and it has been important that I don’t put on weight so that I can stay able as possible.”
Though it does not mean Jackie will be retiring just yet, she loves to travel and plans to indulge in her passion.
Instead daughter Leanne will receive the baton and take over high adrenaline fundraisers from her role model mum.
Leanne, who lives in Nottingham, Notts, said: “Mum is quite modest and doesn’t realise what she has done for us, but she is a wonderful person who has taught us so much.”
Leanne, herself, has completed a 150 mile coast to coast bike ride, trecked across Vietnam and finished several running challenges, including the Great North Run with her mother.
“If my mum can do it I can,” said Leanne.
Their latest stunt is all in aid of the Katy Holmes Trust.
The Katy Holmes Trust was set up in 2012 by Paula and David Holmes following the loss of their 10-year-old daughter Katy Holmes to a rare and inoperable brain tumour.
Katy’s only symptom was to stop smiling but Paula’s instincts alerted her that something was seriously wrong.
Two weeks later an MRI revealed Katy had a brain tumour on her brain stem and had only 6-9 months left to live.
Katy’s parents worked tirelessly to try to save her life sparking a huge media campaign worldwide but after only three months Katy sadly died.
It was then they discovered that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK.
Research is woefully underfunded with less than 2% of the national cancer research spending being dedicated to this field.
The Katy Holmes Trust was set up to fund paediatric brain tumour research and in the first 4 years invested £1.1M.
To donate to Jackie and Leanne’s Just Giving page please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leanne-adair1