Remarkable Ruth celebrates her 80th birthday with a fundraising wing walk

30th May 2023

Ruth Gurney from Bexhill celebrated her 80th birthday with a wing walk on 28th May to raise funds for us. 

She set herself an initial target of raising £350 and has now exceeded £1200 – with donations still being received. 

Ruth explained, “I turned 80 in January and wanted to do something different and memorable to mark the occasion. I considered doing a parachute jump but thought that would be too scary – so after discussing it with my family, I decided to do a wing walk and to use the opportunity to fundraise for KSS, our local air ambulance service. 

“Seven years ago, my husband collapsed when he was driving in Hertfordshire and the local air ambulance were quick to the scene, landing in a small field close to the car. Sadly, they weren’t able to save his life but I will never forget the feeling of knowing that everything that could be done was being done. Air ambulances nationwide do an incredible job – and when I moved to Sussex from Hertfordshire five years ago, I wanted to continue to support my local air ambulance service.” 

Ruth’s impressive wing walk at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent was witnessed by family and friends including her son, Martin, his fiancée, Siobhan, and a group of carers and residents from Earlsfield Court care home in Bexhill where she is a regular volunteer.  

The wing walk involved a 10-minute flight, with the aeroplane flying between 100ft and 700ft and travelling at speeds between 80mph and 110mph.  

Ruth continued, “I did an indoor skydive a few years ago in a wind tunnel which was good fun – but this was on another level! It was an incredible experience. You can only wing walk between the ages of 18 and 80 so I am so pleased that I didn’t delay doing this! I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received and by everyone’s generosity. I did not expect such a big response!” 

Describing her experience, Ruth said, “I had an amazing afternoon. What could be better than being strapped to the wings of a yellow aeroplane flying over the Kent countryside on a sunny afternoon? The pilot ensured that I had a great experience, dipping the wings, going up and down, with opportunities to fly past and wave at the friends and family who had come to support me. It was great to have some residents from Earlsfield Court there to share and enjoy the experience and Leoni, a volunteer from KSS, came to support me too. I feel very privileged to have enjoyed a birthday present that has turned into gaining just a little for a very worthwhile charity.” 

Lola Inge, our Running and Challenge Manager said, “What an incredible achievement! We are so grateful to Ruth for going above and beyond to raise much needed funds to help keep our service fully operational 24/7. 

“KSS is a charity and most of our funding comes from people within our local communities. It costs over £45K a day to run our life-saving service. Without the support of fundraisers like Ruth, our specialist doctors and paramedics would not be able to reach and treat people when they need us most. We hope Ruth’s amazing feat will inspire other people to set themselves a personal challenge and use it as an opportunity to fundraise for KSS.” 

If you’re inspired by Ruth and would like to take on a challenge and help support our work, please visit our challenges page

To support Ruth’s fundraising for us visit her fundraising page.

Ruth Gurney

Saving lives when every second counts

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