Lindsay faces her fears by flying high for her 50th birthday

Lindsay de Grouchy doesn’t do rollercoasters – the bumper cars are her limit.

So, when she announced her intention to take to the skies for an aerobatic display in a homemade plane, her friends and family were somewhat surprised. The mother-of-two, from Fittleworth, will be celebrating her 50th birthday on 2 May in her brother-in-law’s stunt plane, lovingly built over a period of 12 years. “He works in the aeronautical industry, but he has no experience building planes,” says Lindsay. “But he and his dad fancied doing it, and I always joked that if he ever managed to finish it, I would go up with him.

“What I didn’t realise is that it is a stunt plane, which basically means it can be modified much like a car. You can add different component parts to make it go quicker, have more G-force, that sort of thing. And it looks impossibly scary, but now I have to put my money where my mouth is!”

By taking to the skies on her milestone birthday, Lindsay plans to raise as much money as possible for children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. “It will be a celebration of life,” she says. “My parents both died of cancer only nine months apart, when they were 60. They both received hospice care, and I appreciate the amount of money these places need to stay open. My sister, Helen and James – who will be flying the plane – are long-term supporters of Chestnut Tree House, and they have told me a lot about the important work they do there. Then, one of my nephew’s friends, Millie, sadly died in the hospice’s care at the age of only 18. Her story really touched me, and if I’m committed to raise money for such a wonderful charity, I really have to do it!

Lindsay’s flight will depart from Brighton City Airport, with the aerobatic display taking place over the sea. “It’s a really powerful plane, we’ll be doing barrel rolls, and all sorts of strange things,” says Lindsay. “I’m going to try and keep my eyes open as far as possible, but I think it will be very amusing footage because I am a bit of a wuss, to be honest.”

“I am very driven to raise money for Chestnut Tree House, so I’m just going to have to be brave. But I also have two sons – 14 and 17 – and I think it’s quite good for them to see their mum doing something like this. It teaches resilience and lets them know that it’s okay to be scared when you’re doing something out of your comfort zone. “They think it is absolutely hilarious, of course, and they’re really excited to watch their mum do something completely out of character. I hope they will be proud of me because I’m very proud of them. It would be nice for it to be the other way round, for once!”

Upside down image of a plane in flight

To support Lindsay with her fundraising, go to her Just Giving page: