Clevedon pensioner takes to the skies to raise money for children’s charty

Former paratrooper, John Wilkins, 89, from Clevedon, wingwalks for Bristol children's hospital

Former paratrooper, John Wilkins, 89, from Clevedon, wingwalks for Bristol children's hospital - Credit: Archant

An 89-year-old Clevedon man has taken to the skies to raise money for a children’s charity.

John Wilkins, 89, from Clevedon, took part in a wingwalk fundraising event for Bristol children's ho

John Wilkins, 89, from Clevedon, took part in a wingwalk fundraising event for Bristol children's hospital. - Credit: Archant

John Wilkins has been fundraising for more than 20 years, dedicating thousands of hours to raising money for Bristol Children’s Hospital through The Grand Appeal.

His latest fundraising escapade saw him take to the skies last month, for a charity wing walk. The stunt had been due to take place on John’s 89th birthday in April but was postponed due to the pandemic, while he was shielding. John said: “After a strange few months, it has been great to be able to take to the skies again and start fundraising for this amazing charity again.

“It’s been an honour to work so closely with the charity over the years and I hope to inspire more people to try something a bit different to help raise money for The Grand Appeal, a charity that despite the challenges of the pandemic, has continued to provide incredible services to support the patients, families and staff at the children’s hospital.”

The belated birthday celebrations are the latest in a raft of adventurous fundraising activities John has undertaken, from abseils and zipwires to skydives and wing walks.


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His daredevil antics have helped to raise more than £350,000 for the charity to support sick babies and children across the South West and South Wales.

In addition to his more extreme fundraising activities, John has also spent the past 19 years running a charity stall in the foyer of Bristol Children’s Hospital.

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Community fundraiser for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, Steph Benson, said: “It is incredible to see John’s continued dedication to raising money for the charity and we really enjoyed sharing his belated birthday celebrations with him in true adrenaline-fuelled style.

“Our charity skydives and wing walks are the first in-person fundraising events we’ve been able to host since lockdown so we’re incredibly grateful to all our fundraisers.”

The Grand Appeal is the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity which raises money for pioneering research, innovation and life-saving equipment, family accommodation and specialist support and staff.

The charity provides care and support to families of children who are being cared for by the hospital.

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