Lanark’s Mary Bryson is ready for a wingwalk for good causes

Wingwalking - a bit of photographic wizardry by Sarah Peters gives a hint of what is in store for Mary Bryson!
Wingwalking - a bit of photographic wizardry by Sarah Peters gives a hint of what is in store for Mary Bryson!

Lanark’s Mary Bryson admits she has always enjoyed a rush of adrenaline – and now she’s about to hit new heights.

As a contestant, winner and for many years a coach and judge in carriage-driving circles, she always enjoyed the excitement.

Feet still on the ground: Mary with her model biplane. (Photo by Sarah Peters)

Feet still on the ground: Mary with her model biplane. (Photo by Sarah Peters)

And now, at 73, she is about to step outside an aeroplane for a spot of wing-walking.

“It is something I have wanted to do for a few years, for my own buzz,” said Mary.

“It is just for the sensation, the adrenaline buzz, the sensation of being up there and flying through the air like that. I think I will love it.”

Mary has chosen to make her aerial endeavour a charity stunt, raising money for her three favourite causes.

One is Riding for the Disabled, a charity she has worked with for many years in the past, even teaching youngsters carriage-driving when she and her late husband Bill Bryson lived at Robiesland.

Over the years, Mary had spells running an equestrian business, getting involved in social work at Loaningdale and with Scottish Autism and running an import business, but her main love has always been carriage-driving.

“I was teaching and judging and coaching carriage-driving. I loved it,” she said.

Over the decades, she won the Scottish open singles championship and the national pony novice championship, and she was a coach for the Irish national teams, working with drivers and horses at the sport’s world championships.

“I was really lucky,” said Mary.

She became involved with Clydesdale Riding for the Disabled and was able to coach youngsters on a driving for the disabled project at her home until she moved from Robiesland to Nemphlar.

“I was involved with Riding for the Disabled for years, but I have given up because I don’t have the lungs now,” she said, laughing that that won’t hinder her on her forthcoming wing-walk.

“I will get my lungs filled up there all right,” she said.

Her second charity is Ben, an organisation helping anyone who works, or has worked, in the automotive industry.

Bill, a former Lanark lord cornet who died in 2014, was a prominent figure in the motor trade, serving as director-general of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, and Ben, founded in 1905 as the Cycle Trades Benevolent Fund, was a charity he always supported.

The third charity is a Lanark one, Paradventures, set up by another former Lanark lord cornet Gordon McGregor, to enable those with disabilities to take part in adventures and activities.

Mary intends to split donations three ways, and she has set up an online fundraising page for those who want to support her.

On the page she says simply: “It’s not our life that determines how we live, it’s how we LIVE that determines our life.”

To make a donation, go to: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/marybryson1

Her wing-walk takes place on Friday, September 15, in Yorkshire.