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Harry fulfils his dream of flying a plane after 96 years


At Contact the Elderly we are always encouraged when our volunteers go the extra mile for our older guests. And this is especially the case with the story of one of our older guests Harry, who recently got to fulfil his lifetime ambition of flying a plane all thanks to Contact the Elderly.

Harry, who has been a member of one of our tea party groups in Birmingham for many years, has always loved planes. He served as a flight mechanic during the war and was captured and held as a prisoner of war for four years in Japan. The story of his service was told in the 1999 book called Colours of the Day where Harry spoke about his dream of flying a plane.

When volunteers from his tea party group read about his story, they set about organising a day out where Harry could get the chance to fly a small plane for an hour.

He flew a Cessna 172 from Take Flight Aviation in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, and said the experience was “gorgeous”. He told the Birmingham Mail about his day.

“It was great. I used to dream about it and now I’ll dream about doing it for real,’’ Harry said.

“It was beautiful. I had a feeling of being able to go wherever you want, up, down, just having control.

“I was used to planes having a stick not a wheel but I got the hang of it. I must have got the hang of it because I’m still here.”

Harry was joined by family members and volunteers from his tea party group to watch him take to the skies as he was supervised by flight instructor Sharlene Benn. Many thanks to Hobby Mounts who kindly donated a GoPro camera for the day.

The relationships formed between volunteers and older guests are one of the most inspiring things about Contact the Elderly, and this story really shows the power of contact.

Visit our volunteering page to find out more about becoming a volunteer.

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