RENOWNED wing-walker and fund raiser extraordinaire Tom Lackey will be the local hero who opens Chelmsley Wood’s new Asda store next Monday.
The 89-year-old daredevil was chosen by the supermarket giant to open the doors of the store that will be at the heart of the revitalised Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre after a contest run in the Solihull Times.
The grand opening at 10am on June 29 will also see a celebration party featuring a performance from Britain’s Got Talent star Shaun Smith.
Shaun, from Lichfield, will be entertaining the crowd from 9.30am with a selection of the songs that made him such a popular figure on the show.
The store will be officially opened by Tom at 10am,who works tireless in the community to raise money for numerous charities and good causes.
Tom’s friend, Susan Pitham, nominated him as a local hero.
She said: “Tom is a true inspiration to all. Since the death of his beloved wife Isabel in 2000, Tom has thrown himself into raising funds for several charities by strapping himself to the top of a bi-plane and wing-walking - quite a feat for a man in his late 80s.
“Even after suffering a stroke five years ago Tom continues to put others first and believes anyone can achieve their goals regardless of age or disability.
“Tom proved this himself by getting a Guinness World Record at the age of 85 for being the oldest person to loop the loop whilst wing-walking.”
Charities which have benefited from Tom’s efforts include: The Birmingham Mail’s Why My Child appeal, the RAF Association, Cancer Research, Acorns Children’s Hospice and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Tom will face his next big challenge in July when, for yet another world record and another charity, he is planning a wing-walk across the English Channel.
He will arrive by limousine on Monday morning to officially open the store, and will be presented with a £300 Asda gift card in recognition of his work.
Tracey McElroy, general store manager at Asda Chelmsley Wood, said:: “We’re very glad Tom has agreed to officially open the store for us. It’s great to have such a pillar of the local community involved from the very start - we would like to recognise and support all the hard work he has put in over the years.
“The redevelopment of Chelmsley Wood has been a long time coming and is something with which many local people have been involved for years. I am extremely pleased to be working on the launch of this new store and being given the opportunity to build something from the ground up.”