Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Woman with learning disabilities achieves ambition of a lifetime to take to the skies

Twin plane 180A woman with learning disabilities was surprised by staff at the residential home she lives in when they arranged the trip of a lifetime for her recently – a private flight in a twin-propeller aeroplane.

Chrissy King has been a resident at Gables Manor residential home in Lincoln, which is run by charity Making Space, since 1999. During a review with her social worker, 59-year-old Chrissy confided that she’d never been up in an aeroplane and that it was a long-held ambition.

“We have regular reviews with our residents, and Chrissy’s admission that she wanted to fly was completely out of the blue,” said registered nurse Lindsay Yeo. “We asked if she meant she wanted to go on holiday, and she said no – she just wanted to experience being up in the air.”

So Yeo and the team set about making Chrissy’s dream of flying come true, and after a few calls and a little detective work, she was put in touch with pilot Charles Wheeldon. The local farmer, who flies in his spare time, was only too happy to help, much to Chrissy’s delight.

“Charles agreed to fly Lindsay and me around the Lincoln area, and I was so full of beans and jumping up and down with excitement,” Yeo continued. “We had to wait a few days because of bad weather, but then one morning we got a call to say the conditions were perfect and we had to go to Wickenby Aerodrome straight away.

“Charles said I could sit in the front of the plane, which I was happy about as I could see all the different buttons and dials. When we’d taken off I had no idea at first because I was expecting it to be rough or to feel really different to being on the ground, but it wasn’t. It was so exciting to be able to see everything so far down below – we went over Scampton and Lincoln and saw the cathedral and the castle and the whole city – it was amazing.

“We were only too happy to help Chrissy’s dream come true. It’s not something we do regularly, but seeing how happy it made Chrissy made the whole thing worthwhile and hopefully we’ll be able to arrange another flight for her before too long.”

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