Keith George’s wish to fly in a Tiger Moth plane for the first time in 63 years was granted on Saturday, when the 88-year-old took off from Lilydale Airport thanks to the Uniting AgeWell Wishing Well program.
Keith, a resident at Uniting AgeWell Forest Hill, gained his private pilot’s licence in 1952 in a Tiger Moth but, due to circumstances and funding, was sadly never able to fly again.
Yet his love of flying has never waned and one of his most prized possessions is his pilot’s licence and flight log book.
Keith’s family cheered him on as he returned to the skies in a Tiger Moth courtesy of the Wishing Well.
The Wishing Well helps people supported by Uniting AgeWell achieve their dreams, no matter what they might be.
From flights in a helicopter to a romantic Valentine’s dinner, or an encounter with white lion cubs, the wishes are as diverse as they are individual.
Keith was kitted out in a traditional flying jacket, goggles, hat and scarf for his memorable flight over the Yarra Valley.
He said it was a wonderful experience.
“It was almost a Godly feeling to be up there in the air” he said. “The take-off was wonderful, the landing was event better, the way the pilot approached the airfield.”
“When I was the pilot, I had a lot more things to think about. This time I just thought about me and looked to the land below, and loved it when he did steep turns this way and that.
Keith’s daughter Ruth Cahill said he enjoyed sharing his love of planes with his fellow residents and staff at Uniting AgeWell.
She said the Wishing Well was a wonderful way of enabling families to do something special for their loved ones.
“As you get older memories become more important, so trying to connect Dad back to things from his past, like his flying, is such a positive thing for him,” she said.
“It’s great to know the Wishing Well exists because you want to do things for your family – they have done so much for you and now when they’re in a situation where they can’t do things for themselves, you want to give back. It’s our way of saying thanks to our dad.”