Wing walking Debra is flying high for hospice

Daring Debra Toye
Daring Debra Toye

A grieving woman from Lightcliffe will take to the skies this weekend in a hair-raising tribute to ‘the love of her life’, who tragically died from cancer in January.

Daring Debra Toye, 30, will walk along the wings of an in-flight aeroplane to raise money for the Kirklees-based Kirkwood Hospice that afforded 35-year-old father-of-two Neil Cooper vital end-of-life care.

Daring Debra Toye

Daring Debra Toye

“My heart is shattered,” she said, “it all seemed to happen so quickly, from being diagnosed with cancer to it spreading so aggressively and then to Christmas and when he passed away.

“It’s incredibly sad. He left behind two young daughters. He was such a warm and loving person and throughout his illness, the way he carried himself with such dignity and was so brave I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Debra said the quality of care he was given at the hospice went above and beyond what either of them could have expected.

She said: “Kirkwood were just exceptional, it amazed me just how incredible they were.

“When Neil arrived there, it sounds odd, but it was like they rolled out the red carpet to him. Nothing was too much, they were the best of the best.

“He had a tradition whereby he would take his daughters to see Santa every Christmas, so they arranged to have a grotto come to them so he could share that with them again.

“They took care of his insurance and other things like that, which took so much stress away.”

Debra has set a fundraising target of £1,500 for the wing-walk and is well on her way, with well-wishers having pledged over £1,200 so far.

“I’ve not done anything this extreme before, aside from a sky-dive I did a few years ago,” she said.

“Neil and I used to laugh about that. It will be emotional, but I’m looking forward to it. And I can’t think of a better cause to raise money for.”

More information on Neil’s journey and details of how to donate to Debra’s fundraising effort can be found at