A 94-YEAR-OLD wingwalker will kick off this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.
You did read that correctly – nonagenarian Tom Lackey will soar between the piers on the Thursday afternoon of the event, August 28, to signal the start of the displays.
Tom took up wingwalking at the tender age of 80, when he lost his wife.
He decided that sitting at home and moping wasn’t for him and in the past 15 years he has set a series of world records for his exploits.
Tom, who now holds 11 world records, said: “I’ve always been mad on flying and doing mad things all of my life and I’m still doing them.
“Since the age of 16 I wanted to fly, but whatever I wanted to do was thwarted somehow.
“I’ve been wingwalking for 15 years and I’ve also done aerobatics.”
Among his record haul, Tom is the oldest person to do a loop-the-loop on a wing – a record he set at the age of 85 – and in 2009 and 2011 he crossed the Channel.
In 2013, he went from Castle Kennedy in Scotland to Londonderry in Northern Ireland – a total flight time on the wing of one hour and 21 minutes.
In May this year, he went from Land’s End to the Scilly Isles across 30 miles of water to celebrate his 94th birthday.
Tom, whose appearance is being backed by Bournemouth firm LV=, added: “I’ve been to Bournemouth before and it was the most wonderful experience of my life, as I met the Red Arrows there.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting them again.
“I can’t sleep at night thinking about it. I like a goal in life to live for; I’m not ready for bowls or bingo.”