Thrill-seeking great gran fulfils lifelong dream at 81
A thrill-seeking great gran has fulfilled her lifelong dream of doing a wing walk – at 81.
Gloria Lonyon, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, was strapped to the top of a biplane as it soared through the clouds at 135mph above the RFC Rendcomb Airfield in Cirencester, Gloucestershire on Thursday (Sept 29).
The grandmother-of-six and great grandmother-of-five has dreamed of doing the daring stunt ever since she was a girl but says it wasn’t seen as something girls should do ‘in her day’.
Gloria’s adrenaline-filled dreams took a back seat when she married her husband Harold Lonyon, 88, in 1956 and became a mother.
But at 81, the gran decided there was no time like the present and booked a wing walk with company Aerosuperbatics, which she said she would do again ‘in a heartbeat’.
Gloria said: “I would do it again, I really would. It was different and absolutely amazing.
“I did struggle a little bit getting up on the wing because my legs aren’t used to being lifted quite so high but apart from that I had no trouble at all.
“I wasn’t even scared. I don’t think I really believed I was actually going to do it but I put on my suit and goggles and up we went.
“We did lots of huge circles and flew quite low at some points and the wind was really strong. It felt like being on a motorbike.
“I’m so glad I did it. It was exhilarating. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Mum-of-three Gloria said while people seemed to think her wing walk was a ‘big deal’, to her it was just one in a long list of things she never thought she would do – with another being to live past 80.
And while Gloria admitted the younger generations of her family think she’s mad, her elderly female friends all wish they’d gone with her.
Gloria said: “Everyone thinks I’m mad but to me this is just one of those things I have always wanted to do and never really thought I’d get the chance to.
“While other girls dreamed of having a pony, I longed to be able to do a wing walk. And now I’ve done it which I can’t quite believe.
“But then I never thought I’d ever have a television, or a mobile phone, or even be able to fly let alone ride on top of one.
“I never even really thought I’d live to 80 but here I am – and I’m not doing badly for 81.”
Gloria’s wing walk not only fulfilled her lifetime ambition but also raised more than £1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society – a cause close to her heart as Harold has the condition.
She met her husband aged 19 at the local dance hall when he came over to ask for a dance and said it was his dance moves which initially won her over – with the couple going on to share many ‘brilliant’ years together.
Gloria said: “The support from the local community with the fundraising has been incredible.
“Obviously this is a cause close to my heart. Alzheimer’s is such an awful disease.
“It doesn’t just affect the sufferer but has a devastating effect on everyone around them as they watch their loved one slipping away. It is such a hard thing.
“At the moment we are coping alright as I care for him and my son Marcus helps but I know later on we might need help.
“We wanted to raise this money for all the people out there who need help now and who the Alzheimer’s society support.”
“It wasn’t love at first sight – he was just a good dancer. But he won me over eventually.
“We have had a brilliant life together. I have been so lucky but you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.
“That is why I believe in doing all these things I’ve always wanted to do now. If I don’t now then I might never be able to.”