Wingwalking Jim takes fundraising sky high for Children North East

It was chocks away for Sunderland dad, Jim Farquhar, when he took to the skies for a daredevil wingwalk which raised more than £1,000 for Children North East.

Jim, 44, said he felt exhilarated and ‘free as a bird’ as the biplane he was strapped onto soared 500 feet into the air before diving to just 50 feet off the ground.

“You can ask the pilot to either take it easy or give you the full experience and I went for the full works,” said Jim, Chief Operating Officer for Nicholas Postgate Academy Trust in Middlesbrough.

Bucket list tick

Jim, who lives with his wife, Adele and 11-year-old son, Harry, in Ryhope, Sunderland fancied doing a wingwalk for several years but it took the experience of lockdown to spur him on and tick it off his ‘bucket list’.

“I’d not committed to it before lockdown but part way through, I thought, ‘Right, given everything that’s going on, I’m going to make sure I take up a few of the things I want to do.’”

Jim hadn’t originally intended to do the wingwalk as a fundraiser but decided at the last minute to do it ‘for a good cause’.

“When I was looking for a charity I wanted something North East based and Children North East jumped out, particularly with my links to education. The impact they have on disadvantaged children in schools decided me to support them.”


Last year our Schools team worked with 17,751 primary and secondary pupils in schools around the North East and another 25,324 pupils in other areas of the country through our Poverty Proofing the School Day initiative. And during lockdown we’ve distributed more than 2,200 activity packs to children to help them do their school work at home.

Apart from doing a tandem sky dive 25 years earlier, Jim hadn’t done any other nail-biting adrenaline activities. “It’s nice every now and then to be outside your comfort zone and feel that fear and nervous anticipation,” Jim said. “It was nice to feel that again but whether I want to rush into anything else just now is another matter!”

Jim’s wife, Adele, might just be thankful for that. “She thought I was a bit crazy and I think a little bit worried but she just let me get on with it. It’s definitely not her cup of tea – if there’s any turbulence on a flight, she’s not a happy bunny!

Superhero dad!

“My son Harry couldn’t quite comprehend what I was doing until he saw the video and now he says I’m a superhero!”

Jim travelled to a private airfield in the Cotswolds to do the wingwalk with the world-renowned AeroSuperBatics display team.

“The only way I can describe wingwalking is that you feel like a bird. It’s absolutely amazing and the views are stunning.”