• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Grandma Daredevil Valerie Appleton flies high for special needs support group LS29

ByJulie J. Helfer

Jun 22, 2022

A DAREDEVIL grandma filled her bucket list by doing a wing walk for charity.

Valerie Appleton, from Ilkley, who is in her 79th year, completed the wing walk on Sunday June 19 at Church Fenton, Leeds East Airfield.

She took to the skies atop a Boeing Stearman biplane to raise funds for the LS29 Special Needs Support Group, an Ilkley-based charity that supports families of children and young people with special needs. Val’s funds are going to be used for outdoor adventures.

Val’s initial goal was to raise £500, but she is now approaching £2,000.

During the pilot’s pre-flight interview with Val, he was briefed on Val’s many other daring feats. His jaw dropped when he heard about his skydiving in Texas and the UK, zipping and hot air ballooning. He promised the ultimate experience by extending the session with aerial maneuvers.

Val in the air

Val said: “My dream came true with a chance for LS29 to give the kids an extra adventure break. My bonus is that I’m now the “Official LS29 Stuntwoman” – a title I’m proud to hold. The next plan is to “close the loop” for my 80th birthday. Watch this place!”

The Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale is a long-time supporter of LS29. Incoming Co-Chair Peter Mate attended and photographed the event, joining the LS29 team beside the airstrip.

He said: “LS29 is a fabulous local charity, small but growing, with no paid staff, run entirely by families and volunteers. Support now goes to nearly 180 families across the region. Rotary will be looking to significantly increase funds for Val this week, and planning has begun for a break from residential outdoor activities.”

Wharfedale Observer: The LS29 Support Team with the intrepid Val and Karen Goodman-Picken and Peter MateThe LS29 Support Team with the intrepid Val and Karen Goodman-Picken and Peter Mate

LS29 Group President Karen Goodman-Picken added: “We are all in awe of Val’s adventurous spirit. Not only did she raise a huge amount of money for LS29, but she invited a bunch of us to watch. The kids loved it. Her enthusiasm for trying new activities and pushing her personal limits is inspiring. She wants her fundraiser to go towards children with additional needs pushing their own limits with outdoor activities, which we are now excited to start planning.

To support Val on her fundraising visit: https://gofund.me/87709a02