A POWYS man will fly for only the second time in his life later this year, to raise money for charity – it’ll take place just a few months before his 90th birthday.

Pensioner Chris Jones, 89, has only ever flown once before in his life, and even that was more than 50 years ago.

His second flight will be slightly different, in that he’ll be wing walking; he’ll be flown 600ft into the air atop a 1940s Boeing Stearman, which will reach speeds of up to 140mph.

Chris, from Knighton, has become his hometown’s very own ‘Lance Corporal Jones’, the famed Dad’s Army character who was famous for the catchphrase “Don’t Panic!”.

“You’d think I’d be nervous, wouldn’t you?” said Chris. “I’m not at the moment, who knows I might be on the day, but I’ll just have to say ‘don’t panic’, won’t I?”

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He has been hitting the streets of Knighton to raise money dressed in a special outfit, modelled on Lance Corporal Jones.

Organisers Anthony and Vanessa Watts, who are neighbours and friends of Chris, have helped him with this amazing outfit, adding some local touches such as the Radnor Home Guard signature badge.

The couple raised more than £10,000 at a similar wing walk event they organised last year. In January this year, they organised a concert at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, where Chris decided to sign up for the flight.

“I really loved the concert,” said Chris. “But what really hit me was there was a video played from a young girl and her mum who were cared for at Hope House.

“I knew then I wanted to do something to raise money and I turned to the chap next to me and said, ‘I’m going to wing walk’.”

Chris has only flown once before, in 1971, from Cardiff to Dublin, when he competed for Wales in clay shooting.

“I’ve not spent much time in the air,” he said.

“I don’t quite know what to expect by wing walking, but all I can say is I’m really looking forward to it and raising lots of money for children and families.”

The wing walking event will be held on July 25 at RFC Rendcomb near Cirencester, with the AeroSuperBatics Professional Wing Walking Team.

“Chris is a remarkable man for putting himself forward to do this,” said Anthony, who together with Vanessa organise numerous fundraising events for Hope House.

“When he came out to see us after the concert, he was really moved by how important Hope House and Ty Gobaith are for children and families.

“He said to me right away that he wanted to do the wing walk and raise money. He’s been getting around Knighton and turning plenty of heads, speaking to people about his amazing challenge and getting them to sponsor him.”

If you see Chris, then ask him to show you his QR code which is on his phone and will take you straight to his fundraising page where you can donate.

Border Counties Advertizer:  Pensioner Chris Jones, 89, has only ever flown once before in his life. Credit Matt Price Pensioner Chris Jones, 89, has only ever flown once before in his life. Credit Matt Price (Image: Matt Price)

Border Counties Advertizer:  Chris pictured with Anthony and Vanessa Watts. Credit Matt Price Chris pictured with Anthony and Vanessa Watts. Credit Matt Price (Image: Matt Price)

Dawn Ball, a fundraiser at Hope House, said: “What Chris is doing to support seriously ill local children and their families is truly brave and amazing, and we are so grateful to him for taking on this challenge, and to Anthony and Vanessa for holding another wing walk this year.

“Hope House and Ty Gobaith support more than 750 local families who are either caring for a terminally ill child or whose child has died.

“It costs £7.5 million every year to run our services, and without our incredible community and people like Chris we could not be here for those that really need us.”

Christ turns 90 on Christmas Day and still lives in the house he was born in.

He added: “After going to the concert I wanted to do something special to help raise more money for this amazing charity. So, I decided to take to the skies.

“Please help me raise as much money for Hope House as we can.”

Chris has so far raised £1,160 of his £2,500 target. If you would like to donate and support Chris, visit his JustGiving page at www.hopehouse.org.uk/chris-wing-walking.