For almost half a century, Uniting AgeWell resident Reg Evison has dreamed of taking to the sky in a helicopter.
And last month that dream became a reality for the 70-year-old from Latrobe on Tasmania’s North-West Coast.
Mr Evison was chosen as the first Tasmanian recipient of a wish as part of Uniting AgeWell’s Wishing Well program. The program comes from Uniting AgeWell’s belief that no one is ever too old to dream. The aged care provider hopes to fulfil the wishes of up to 10 clients across the two states this year.
There is no real limit on what the dream might be – to relive the childhood joy of a ride on a passenger train, a reunion with a lost friend or relative, a pamper session at a day spa or even an afternoon fishing.
“Our volunteers and staff strive to help our residents and community clients to achieve their dreams, no matter what they might be,” Uniting AgeWell CEO, Sharon Donovan said.
Mr Evison said he had wanted to ride in a helicopter ever since he saw them landing and taking off from aircraft carrier HMAS
Melbourne when he worked as a radio technician in the Australian Navy between 1968 and 1976.
“I used to watch the planes and helicopters taking off and landing but I never had a chance to fly in one of them,” he said.
After being given a 30-minute joy flight with Launceston firm HeliAdventures Tasmania, Mr Evison said he was so pleased for the opportunity to fulfil his dream.
“It was amazing. I totally enjoyed it,” he said.
“Unlike a plane you are flying lower and travelling slower and the pilot was very good at picking out points of interest.”
Mr Evison said he particularly enjoyed the opportunity to view Launceston’s famed Cataract Gorge from the air as it was one of his favourite spots in the city.
It was one of two wishes granted last month.
In Melbourne, Wishing Well was launched with a romantic carriage ride for Fran and Arthur Hammett.
Arthur, 89, wanted to treat his ‘best girl’ to some old fashioned glamour. And Fran, 81, wore her best cream gloves so she could wave regally to passers-by.
The couple, who recently celebrated 61 years of marriage, shared some bubbly as they cantered along and Arthur presented Fran with a red rose.
“We can’t thank Uniting AgeWell enough,” Arthur said. “To say it was a good day is an understatement. We’re still on cloud nine.”
By Nigel Tapp
Residents, friends, family members and Uniting AgeWell staff are able to nominate a person for a wish and can do so by emailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org