Stevenage's Geraldine pays tribute to father by facing biggest fear with charity wing walk
PUBLISHED: 08:30 29 September 2019
A woman terrified of heights faced her fear and did a charity wing walk in memory of her father.
Geraldine Strohm, president of the Rotary Club of Stevenage, was strapped to the wing of a biplane and flown 700 feet in the air to raise money for the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity.
Her father, Geoffrey, had battled vascular dementia for three years before he died last December, and Geraldine had decided to take on the biggest personal challenge she could think of in tribute to him.
She said: "The wing walk was a thoroughly awesome experience on one of the most beautiful days of the year - hardly a cloud, warm and sunny.
"The Team at Damyns Hall Aerodrome [in London] totally put me at my ease from the moment I arrived, with an in-depth briefing and all my questions answered, and I clambered onto the plane.
"It's quite a strange sensation, standing on the wing of an aeroplane - quite narrow from front to back and pretty slippery.
"As the instructor strapped me in, I felt so secure and reassured.
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"The take-off was smooth and we climbed to 700 feet. I was so busy admiring the landscape beneath me, waving at bemused golfers and searching for my supporters below, I almost forgot to examine the skyline.
"I was so determined to make the most of my 15 minutes in the air that I attempted the can-can and Macarena - on the instruction of my 11-year-old daughter Lily.
"Before I knew it, we were coming in to land.
"It was an experience of a lifetime and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!"
Geraldine is desperate to reach her £1,200 fundraising target, but still has some way to go.
You can still donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/Geraldine-Strohm1
The charity is close to Geraldine's heart because it supports Stevenage's Lister Hospital, where her father was cared for.
She said: "He had a lovely sense of humour, was really cheeky and loved owls, squirrels and birds. He was a gentle man, who we all loved dearly, but his body and mind were ravaged by vascular dementia.
"It was so hard to watch my dad taken slowly, piece by piece, by the cruel condition, but the care we both received when we needed it most was second to none and I want to thank the staff and help them to continue helping others."