A 75-year-old grandmother took to the skies this weekend to support the NHS.

On Sunday (September 19), Patricia Dare, from Chard, took part in a sponsored aeroplane wing walk in support of both NHS Charities Together and South Western Ambulance Service.

Patricia stood on the wing of a biplane that took a ten-minute flight across Honiton in Devon.

She had raised more than £1,500 so far, and is hoping to reach her target of £3,000.

Patricia, who has six grandchildren, said: “Lots of people think I’m mad, including the nurses I used to work with and my grandchildren, but they think I’m brave too.

Chard & Ilminster News: STAR: Patricia on her Wing Walk. Pic: Wingwalk buzz

“Jenny is in the NHS and I’ve seen how hard they all work and how stressful it can be, and I just wanted to help in a small way.

“I wanted to volunteer at the start of Covid-19 but couldn’t because of my age, and so I looked at this instead. I don’t know exactly what attracted me to the wing walk, but I’ve always thought I’d quite like to do one … so I just said why not!

“I want to say thank you to the NHS and ambulance services for all their hard work.”

Patricia was a domiciliary care worker for 30 years. She won the South Western Award for carer of the year in 2015, after she was nominated by a patient (who then become a close friend), Linda.

Patricia’s daughter Jenny followed in her mother’s footsteps and today works as an executive director at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Jenny, 53, said: “Mum knows how difficult it’s been for all of us in the NHS, particularly recently.

“She wanted to give something back because she’s seen friends she used to work with struggling, she’s seen me struggling, and she appreciates the risks staff have taken these last 18 months because she’s been working alongside them for many years.

“I’ve had over 30 years in the NHS and there has never been a time like this.

“I just continue to be amazed by how staff manage to keep going in the face of adversity and focus on doing the right thing for those in front of them.

“If we can raise funds and help people to continue to do a great job that will mean a huge amount to all of us.”

Chard & Ilminster News: STAR: Patricia on her Wing Walk. Pic: Wingwalk buzz

NHS Charities Together is the national independent charity caring for the NHS.

Together with a network of 240 NHS charities across the UK, it provides extra support to help the NHS go further for staff, patients and communities.

Ellie Orton OBE, chief executive at NHS Charities Together, said they are ‘so grateful’ to Patricia.

“Fundraisers like this help NHS staff continue with their vital, life-saving work and create better health for us all,” she added.

“Although Covid-19 cases are declining, clinics are busier than ever due to a backlog of patients, and a shortage of ambulance service specialists means staff are seeing unprecedented levels of demand and facing burnout.

“That’s why NHS staff still need our support – and we’re so grateful to all of our incredible fundraisers, like Patricia, for giving something back.”

To sponsor Patricia, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com.