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Flying high for LS29

Ilkley resident, Val Appleton, embarked on a high flying challenge last weekend and is now known as the ‘Official LS29 Stuntwoman’.

Over her 79 years, intrepid Val has engaged in a variety of challenging sponsorship opportunities, capping this by flying high on a ‘wing-walk’ atop a Boeing Stearman biplane at Leeds East Airport.

Val set out to raise much-needed funds for the LS29 Special Needs Support Group, an Ilkley based charity supporting families of children and young people with special needs. This will fund outdoor activities for these special families to find thrills of their own.

Advertised on shop windows across Ilkley and on Ilkley Chat, Val’s initial target of raising £500 was very quickly exceeded, approaching £2,000 on flight day, Sunday 19 June.

At the pilot’s pre-flight briefing with Val, he was told of Val’s many other challenging exploits. His jaw dropped as he heard about sky -diving in Texas and UK, line-zipping, and hot-air ballooning. He promised the ultimate experience, extending the session with aerial manoeuvres, with Val atop screaming her encouragement.

After completing her challenge Val said: “My dream was realised with a chance for LS29 to give the children an additional adventure break. My bonus is that I am now the ‘Official LS29 Stuntwoman’ - a title I am proud to hold. The next plan is to ‘Loop the Loop’ for my 80th Birthday. Watch this space!”

Chair of LS29 Group Karen Goodman-Picken said: “We are all in awe of Val's adventurous spirit. Not only has she raised an enormous amount of money for LS29, she invited a group of us along to watch. The children loved it. Her enthusiasm for trying new activities and pushing personal boundaries is inspiring. She wants her fundraising to go towards children with additional needs pushing their own boundaries with outdoor activities, which we are now delighted to start planning”.

Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale are long-term supporters of LS29 and incoming co-President Peter Mate joined the LS29 Team beside the airstrip: “LS29 are a fabulous small but growing local charity, with no paid staff, entirely run by the families and Volunteers. Support and short breaks are now going out to nearly 180 families from across the area. Rotary will look to significantly add to Val’s funds this week, and plans are afoot for a summer activity break in the Lakes, with planning now starting for a longer residential break. This time out is so valuable to the children and young people, and offers great support to their parents and carers”

Donations can still be made at


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