Sunderland Mayoress gets strapped to plane’s wings

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IS it a UFO? No, it’s Sunderland’s Mayoress strapped to a plane.

Daredevil councillor Barbara McClennan was due to take to the skies with the Breitling Wingwalkers today to raise money for St Benedict’s Hospice and the Sunderland Carers Centre.

The flight was set to take off from Newcastle Airport at 3pm, with cameras on board providing big screen shots of the Mayoress as she soars along the seafront strapped to the wing of a 1940s Stearman biplane at about 140mph.

Barbara said: “I won’t be doing a somersault or anything like what some of the other performers can do. I think I’ll just be holding on for grim death.”

The wingwalkers, including 23-year-old Danielle Hughes, will be displaying their death-defying stunts as part of Sunderland International Airshow which launches tonight.

Danielle is returning to the show for a second year to perform as part of the display team.

She said: “There’s always a massive crowd supporting us. People always think we can’t see them waving from up in the air but we can.”

The team will once again be performing their famous Cockpit Lady pass, when Danielle will leave her safety harness to climb into the cockpit.

If the weather holds, Danielle also wants to show a position called The Mirror, which sees two of the 1940s Stearman biplanes flying stacked above each other, the wingwalkers so close together they can hold hands.

Twitter: @sunechomark

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