Great-grandmother makes her first plane journey to celebrate 80th birthday
GREAT-grandmother Shirley Smithson was flying high after enjoying her very first plane journey to celebrate her 80th birthday.
Brave Shirley, from Laceby, was treated to a trial flight with POM Flying Club, at Humberside Airport, to celebrate her milestone birthday – and she even took hold of the controls.
Despite going on more than 70 coach holidays and cruising the world during her life, it was the first time she had ever stepped foot inside a plane.
The retired shorthand typist said: "My husband has never been keen on flying so we've always gone on holidays by coach or train instead.
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"My family knew how much I wanted to go in a plane and they organised a surprise party for me at Stallingborough Grange and then gave me a voucher for the flight at the end.
"I wasn't nervous at all, I was just excited. I thought to myself that if anything did go wrong I would be happy I was doing something I'd always wanted to do."
The experience was organised by Shirley's three children, Tim, 58, Julie, 54, and Sally, 52, and she was joined in the aircraft by granddaughters Becky Hallam and Laura Lancaster.
She added: "It was an absolutely amazing experience. My granddaughters said it was so much gentler than being in a big plane. It was so smooth that it was like being in a taxi!
"I wanted to fly over Barton because we lived there for 40 years and then the pilot let me take the controls and fly back to Laceby where we live now.
"I never thought I'd be flying a plane, let alone at 80. It was such a thrilling experience that I'd encourage anyone to try it."
Shirley was joined at the airport by husband Ray, 84, her two daughters and their husbands and two of her grandchildren.
Chris Dale, co-owner of POM Flying Club, said: "It was a privilege for us to be able to help Shirley experience her very first flight. We're absolutely delighted that she enjoyed her journey across northern Lincolnshire."
To find out more about trial flights and air experiences with POM Flying Club, visit www.gbpom.co.uk or call 07985 753336.