Air Smiles Day for Thirlestaine Park Care Home
fly2help joined in with Gloucestershire Airport’s celebration of Armed Forces weekend by holding a themed Air Smiles Day for residents of Thirlestaine Park Care Home in Cheltenham. 12 residents, carers and family attended their special day at Gloucestershire Airport where they were hosted by a team of volunteers from fly2help who had transformed the airport’s departure lounge into a room full of memories for the day. The room was decorated with bunting, war memorabilia and cakes were made from recipes from wartime cook books. With 1940’s music playing on the background, the residents enjoyed their cups of tea, maybe not the cake so much, before some of them took to the skies in a four seat helicopter flown by one of the charity’s volunteer pilots. One of the ladies that flew was a wireless operator during the war. Mollie served in the RAF between 1941 and 1945 and her husband also flew Lancaster bombers.
This was a day arranged by fly2help to give the residents and their carers a day out to remember and it certainly did that. After the helicopter flight all the residents had an opportunity to be driven around the countryside in Austin Healey cars and a Jaguar, provided by the Austin Healey Club and then a buffet lunch at the Aviator. If that wasn’t enough excitement for the day, the best surprise was when they were joined for lunch by Joy Lofthouse, one of the well known Spitfire Women and also one of the Patrons of the fly2help charity. It was very emotional watching Joy and Molly engaged in conversation about their experiences.
After lunch as the residents thought it was time to go home, the final excitement of the day was when a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight landed at Gloucester and parked right next to them so they were all able to chat to the pilot and have a close look at the aircraft. Emotions were flying high at this point as the pilot stopped to chat to Joy Lofthouse. No doubt Joy giving him a few tips on how to fly! By the time Mollie had her chance to sit with the pilot while he drank his well earned cup of tea, there were not many dry eyes from the volunteers and carers.
A mixed day of emotions for all involved, but a day of remembering the past and making new memories for their future. The care home will receive a memory photo album provided by fly2help so they can always look back on their day and so the smiles will continue well after the day itself.
fly2help is a Gloucestershire based charity that uses the power of flight to raise the spirits of people young and old, living in difficult personal situations and inspire young people as they consider their future lives. So far this year fly2help has flown 107 people.
Do you know a child or adult living with a life-limiting condition or disability, recently bereaved or feeling isolated? Nominate them at www.fly2help.org
fly2help is a Gloucestershire based charity and rely solely on donations. You can donate directly via our website www.fly2help.org or if you have any fund raising ideas please feel free to get in touch