The Bookends Go Flying – Outside the Aircraft
Bernard Foad and Doug Squires kept their promise and did their part. An amazing experience, without a doubt! Yet, the mission is still not accomplished. They still need your support. Below is from Bernard Foad's pen which tells us what happened and how they felt on the day.
One bright very sunny morning, I awoke to realize that today was “the day” – the day when myself and Doug Squires were to be strapped to the upper wing on a 1930’s bi-plane and hurtle around the skies!
Who had we offended, you might ask, to deserve such a punishment? Well, no one actually. This was all my fault. Some little while ago, Doug and I threw ourselves off a mountain in Wales suspended on a piece of piano wire as we hurtled along the longest zip wire in Europe.
This must have caused some sort of temporary(?) insanity as we both thought that "it was great – what next!" and I came up with the answer: “Let’s do a wing-walk for charity”. So all was duly set up, places booked and a charity selected. We chose Zoe’s Place which is a charity founded by Professor Jack Scarisbrick in 1995. It provides palliative and respite care for very or terminally ill babies and children up to five years old. There are currently three hostels, one each in Middlesbrough, Liverpool, and Coventry.
So, cometh the day. Clear blue skies, light breeze, and bags of nerves!! Having arrived on time despite the best efforts of the local traffic to delay us we were met with a gang of supporters, including Richard Witek, Simon Groves, Mike Reeve, Peter Round, and part of the Squires family.
The briefing was done; disclaimers were signed and it was time to climb! And I do mean climbing up onto the upper wing where there was no safety net! I was to go before Doug. Was this a setup?
Aided by two delightful youngsters, both of which were professional wing walkers, we are strapped onto a sort of perching set with a backrest. The engine started and off we trundled. As the aircraft taxied across the grass strip we got shaken about a bit but then when we were in the air... WOW!!
Full aerobatics are not allowed for first-timers, but looking across the beautiful Cotswolds from the top wing as the aircraft swooped and banked was a combination of terror, joy, and a sense of freedom which I cannot describe.
Ten minutes later and we are landing and that was that. So would we do it again? Possibly! Was it worth it? Personally, yes but we also did it for a very special group of dedicated people working with some very poorly babies and their families.
So, now it is your turn; our Just Giving page is still open and you can support our cause by clicking HERE.
Best wishes and thanks to all who have supported us.
Doug and Bernard AKA The Bookends.