Martin Baker, the founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, has been supporting his mother Diana Baker’s daring wingwalk, which has raised more than £5k for dementia research, with donations still coming in.
The Consortium paid for the wingwalk, eliminating any expenses so that all money raised will go to The Lewy Body Society. Martin’s father, Tony Baker, died in 2020 from Lewy body dementia and this year would have been his parents’ diamond (60th) wedding anniversary.
“My mum is simply amazing. I still can’t quite believe that she is doing this, but it’s a cause that is very dear to us.” said Martin.
Daredevil Di, 77, has a paralysed arm due to childhood polio. Undaunted, she was strapped to a 1940s biplane, travelling at speeds of up to 140mph, to reach 800 feet – that’s more than twice the height of Big Ben! She was flying with AeroSuperBatics – the Guinness World Record holding wingwalking team – on the 18th October.
“The wingwalk was both exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time” said an emotional Di afterwards. “But I did it and I know that Tony would have been really proud of me.”
The event took place on a beautiful autumn day in front of friends, family and supporters. It has received coverage in the Stroud Times and Oxford Mail, as well as other publications, and was filmed by BBC South Today. This publicity has helped to raise the profile of Lewy body dementia, which is still relatively unknown, despite being the second most common type of dementia. “No-one has ever heard of it,” says Di. “I want that to change, so that people get diagnosed earlier. It’s very personal.”
The wingwalk is just one way that Di fundraisers for The Lewy Body Society, supporting the charity’s work to raise awareness and improve diagnosis and treatment.
Di refuses to let her disability hold her back. “People often don’t even realise that I can’t use one arm because it’s never stopped me from doing anything,” she says. “My motto has always been ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’.”
Watch Di complete her incredible wingwalk, in footage created by BBC South Today
The Lewy Body Society is a registered charity whose mission is to fund research into Lewy body dementia and to raise awareness of the disease. Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of neurodegenerative dementia in older people after Alzheimer’s, accounting for approximately 15-20% of all people living with dementia. The charity also hopes to provide a community focus for those who live with dementia with Lewy bodies, along with their carers and families. The website provides information to help those who need to understand the disease and its impact.