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July 23rd, 2017.

When Emma Thorpe from Newhaven lost her dad to bowel cancer, which had spread throughout his body, it was the start of an incredible journey. In the following year, the 44-year-old mum of two lost 13 stone in weight, and is about to embark on a wingwalk to raise money for the charity Bowel & Cancer Research in her dad’s memory.

With her will be her friend Luci Mills-Barton from Seaford who also lost her uncle to bowel cancer. Together they’ll be strapped to the top wing of a Boeing Stearman bi-plane and will soar through the skies at 135mph, staging a flypast for friends and family below.

Emma’s dad Charlie Thorpe died of bowel cancer in 2015. He was aged 72.

“Dad always knew it was top of my bucket list to do a wingwalk but my weight always let me down,” said Emma, from Hillcrest Road in Newhaven.

“He was the first and only person at the time who knew about my gastric bypass. His precise words were: ‘Dreams do come true, Doll - one day you will be able to do it!’

“If Dad could see me now he would be so proud. The wingwalk has helped push me towards achieving my goal weight of 12st with help from my family and friends.

Her wingwalk parter Luci, 24, is a dog walker from Belgrave Road in Seaford. “After Emma’s dad died, we were having a big chat and Emma asked if I fancied doing a wing walk with her. We shook on it and that was it,” she said.

“My uncle, Steve Duncan, was only 59 when he died of bowel cancer in 2014, just three days before our shared birthday and his big 60th. We were as thick as thieves and everyone adored him, so it seemed appropriate to join Emma in his memory. He’d think we were absolutely barmy.

“We’re both absolutely petrified, but it will be a good challenge and a great way to raise some money for a good cause.”

After the wingwalk in Essex on September the 2nd, the pair, along with a coach load of supporters, including Emma’s sons Ant and Stefan, her partner John Brailsford and Luci’s partner Lee McKay, will drive home and then to The Ship pub in Newhaven for a fundraising afternoon with a raffle and buffet.

Chief Executive of Bowel & Cancer Research Deborah Gilbert thanked Luci and Emma for their support: “Bowel cancer affects more than 41,000 people in the UK every year and it’s our aim to make sure no one dies of this terrible disease in future. We can only do that with the help of our fantastic fundraisers,” she said.

Anyone who wants to support Luci and Emma can do so at:

Pictured: Friends Emma Thorpe (left) and Luci Mills-Barton are all set for a wingwalk as a tribute to their dad and uncle.