18th birthday wing walk raises £4,000 for MIND

18th birthday wing walk raises £4,000 for MIND

Whilst many teenagers are dreaming of one day holding cancelled 18th birthday parties, one Homewood sixth former took to the skies for her celebrations and has raised over £4,000 for charity.

Brave Abbie marked her 18th birthday by undertaking a wing walk at Headcorn Aerodrome at Sunday 12 July in aid of mental health charity MIND, and to help raise awareness of the impact of mental health issues such as depression.

After landing from the wing walk Abbie said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life. The adrenaline rush was amazing from start to finish. Surprisingly, the hardest part was climbing into the seat, trying to avoid hitting the wires.”

Abbie also exceeded all her fundraising expectations, beating her original target to raise just over  £4,000 in sponsorship.

Abbie got the idea to take the wing walking challenge after seeing adverts for experiences run by The Wing Walk Company outside Headcorn aerodrome, as she drove past on her way to school every day.

“I wanted to do something adventurous for my birthday but also to raise money for MIND. To be able to wing walk you must be 18 so it tied in well with my birthday and the idea just grew on me.”

Abbie turned 18 in May but lockdown meant she couldn’t schedule her sponsored wing walk until now.

Abbie’s motivation for choosing to support MIND is a very personal one. “A few years ago my mum experienced severe  depression. This was very hard on the rest of the family as we didnt understand depression and how it affects people. I used the MIND website to gain a greater understanding of what she was going through.

“Not only did MIND help me personally, it spreads awareness of mental health issues and helps to break the stigma around this subject. MIND also provides a confidential phone line which anyone can access if they are in need of help.”

Homewood Principal Mr Jeremy Single said: “Abbie’s teachers and I are really proud of her for showing such courage and selflessness in choosing to celebrate her birthday in this way and in aid of such an important charity, particularly at the moment.”

You can still support Abbie’s MIND fundraiser at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AbbieHayes