History was made yesterday when a 93-year-old grandad completed the first ever wing-walk from Scotland to Northern Ireland.
The pensioner from the West Midlands flew from Castle Kennedy airstrip to Londonderry to raise money for charity.
Tom Lackey, a previous recipient of the Pride of Britain Awards, already had six Guinness World Records and yesterday smashed a further three as the oldest wing-walker and stunt man when he touched down safely at the City of Derry airport at 10.15am.
Armed with only a set of goggles and some thermal underwear, brave Tom spent over an hour travelling across the North Channel at around 160mph while strapped on top of a vintage Boeing Stearman biplane, having left Castle Kennedy at 9am in overcast but dry conditions.
The biplane was accompanied by international air force aircrafts from Spain, UK, Russia and Belgium. The Guinness world records assessors were also in attendance.
After he completed his 29th wing walk, Tom was welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Belfast and Londonderry and whisked off to a champagne reception with many more flying veterans.
A dad of three and grandfather of two, Tom took up the hair-raising hobby at the age of 80 after the death of his wife, Isabel, in 2000, who served in the RAF.
Tom, from Shirley, West Midlands, raised money for the British Heart Foundation in Isabel’s memory by entering the record books as the oldest person to loop-the-loop strapped to an aircraft’s wings at the age of 85.
“The first time I went upside down I felt a bit funny, but the second time was really lots of fun,” he recalls.
“Isabel would’ve been cross with me because it’s risky, but I did it anyway.
“I imagine she would have come round to the idea of what I was doing eventually.”
The retired builder conpleted yesterday’s wing walk to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer after his daughter, Anne, was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells last year. Sadly, his son, Alex, died from cancer in May this year, aged 65.
Since taking up wing-walking Tom has raised more than £1.25 million for different charities. Now the incredible pensioner, who has crossed the English Channel four times, is planning more escapades in the sky.
He says: “I think I’ll give some more aerobatics while strapped to the top of a plane a go next.
“People tell me that I must be mad but that just makes me want to do it more. I don’t like the word impossible.
“When I’m up in the sky I mainly think of my wife. I always carry a photo of her. I think of her and try to think what she would think of me.”