His 57-year-old wife had just been transferred to a nursing home last summer due to Alzheimer’s disease, and sadness was his only companion, until his grandson surprised him by fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Harrison Gurney, 12, desperately wanted to cheer up his grandfather and came up with a plan to give him the surprise of a lifetime.
Malcolm Hanson had loved the Spitfires ever since he witnessed a ‘dog fight’ over his head involving one of the vintage airplanes as a young boy living in 1945 London during WWII.
Harrison knew he dreamed of flying in one, so to help him celebrate his 80th birthday, the boy wrote letters to private Spitfire airfields and owners across the UK asking for help.
“It breaks my heart to see him so sad. I want him to smile again, ”said part of the letter.
The bosses at Goodwood Airfield in West Sussex were so moved that they offered to take them both on the classic plane.
Harrison managed to raise enough money to fuel his grandfather’s surprise by doing housework and volunteering to do yard work for other family members.
On Friday, Mr. Hanson was finally able to realize his fantasy of flying through the skies, and was even able to take control of the aircraft.
“It was absolutely fantastic, it was the most amazing experience I have ever had. To have been able to take control of the Spitfire, ”said Hanson, whose father was in the Royal Air Force during the war. “The pilot did barrel turns and some dives, it was a lot of fun, a brilliant day, all thanks to Harri.”
“It is a lifelong dream come true. Harri knew it and went and made it happen. He sets his mind to something and follows it to the end. We are very proud of him “.
“While I was there, I was thinking, ‘When am I going to make a barrel?’ and then I was able to make one and even take control, turning left and right and up and down. It was a great feeling. “
Staff at the Boultbee Academy flight school were also touched by the young man’s letter and offered to send it to Harvard in the 1940s as well.
“Harri and her grandfather are like two peas in a pod,” her mother said. “He wrote a letter and wanted me to help him find a place to send it. When I read it, it made me cry. “
“He said ‘can you help me mend my grandfather’s broken heart?’ I was worried and wanted to help him smile again. “
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