Rachel Bates from Brackley, Northamptonshire had a list of “50 things to do” before she reached the age of 50. Some of these were as simple as making lasagne from scratch or attending a jewellery-making class. Others, however, pushed the boundaries a little more!

Even though Rachel’s father was a pilot, she has always had a fear of flying and heights - so what better way to test herself to the limit, than to sign up for a charity wing walk combining both of her fears?

She chose three charities all close to her heart, including the Horton General Hospital, The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

As Rachel says, “Since moving to Brackley three and a half years ago, my son Theo, daughter Connie and I have kept staff at the Horton busy, and I’d like to give a little something back.

“The Horton General Hospital - our local hospital in Banbury is a wonderful place we have come to know far too well. We pretty much keep them in business and I look set to do so for the foreseeable future.

Both of Rachel’s children were born with high cholesterol, which means that they will both be on statins for life to keep their condition under control. Rachel herself has had amazing care from the colorectal team and vulval clinic and this time last year she was uncertain if she had cancer.

‘When you get a cancer scare you realise that you have to make the most of every day, life is precious.’

This was the catalyst for living life to its fullest. ‘I love the lyrics from the Foo Fighters song “It’s times like these you learn to live again”, said Rachel. It was played at the funeral of my dear friend’s husband, who died from cancer aged just 48.

‘It made me more determined than ever to face my fears whilst raising as much money as possible for my chosen charities. 

“I want to say thank you to everyone who donated - your support will make a real difference to patients and staff in our fabulous local hospital.’

Rachel paid for the wing walk herself so that all donations will go to the charities. In total, she raised a whopping £1,205, with £385 going to the Horton General.

Claire Hughes from Oxford Hospitals Charity said, “What a brave lady Rachel is! We want to thank her for choosing to raise money for the Horton General. We know this hospital holds a very special place in the hearts of many people in the local area.”

If Rachel has inspired you, why not organise your own challenge to support the hospital cause close to your heart? Visit: https://www.hospitalcharity.co.uk/fundraising for more details.