Wing-walker Heather takes to the skies in aid of Rowcroft

Heather Smith during her wing-walk challenge

Heather Smith during her wing-walk challenge - Credit: Archant

After a couple of weather-enforced delays, a daredevil wing-walker from Torbay took to the skies raising money for Rowcroft Hospice.

Cancer survivor Heather Smith, from Preston, took on the challenge to wing-walk on an aeroplane as part of the ‘Hospice Heroes’ initiative and says, despite occasionally fearing for her life, it turned out to be an amazing adventure.

Heather was diagnosed with inoperable cancer 20 years ago but, following treatment at Torbay and Bristol Hospitals, she is fighting fit, and clearly very brave.

“Travelling up to Dunkerswell, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, as nerves were tempered with the thought that it was third time lucky for the wing-walk,” said Heather.

“However, at the safety briefing we were advised that, although the aircraft was regularly maintained and up to CAA standards, in the case of an accident it was highly likely that you could be seriously injured or die – at which point I thought ‘help, what am I doing‘.

“Once strapped on the plane, I was so frightened my mouth went totally dry but when we got airborne, I actually enjoyed it.

“The pilot had asked before the flight whether I was an Alton Towers/ fairground lover – I told him definitely not but to try a few adventurous manoeuvres, so three times he did a steep climb and drop down the other side – I had to close my eyes for that. I loved it when he banked the plane, just like cornering on a motor bike.

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“Trying to wave to my friends was really hard as the force of the ‘apparent wind’ was so strong, but I did manage it.

“It was a great experience on a perfect day and I am so pleased to have done this to raise funds for Rowcroft Hospice. Would I do it again? The pilot told me next time I can do a loop-the-loop – I will leave that to the imagination.”

To donate to Heather, log on to, search for Heather Smith and you will find Heather Smith’s Wing-Walk. Alternatively, there are collection tins in stores across the Bay.