Jack's Magnificent Day

Jack Higgins, 90, samples the skies over the Solent

 

Jack's magnificent day in a tiny flying machine


On a glorious autumn day, Jack Higgins has the sky to himself over Lee-on-the-Solent

On a glorious autumn day, Jack Higgins has the sky to himself over Lee-on-the-Solent
 
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Click on thumbnail to view image
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A neighbourly gesture normally means sharing a cup of sugar.
But Cliff Shorter went much further when he took his 90-year-old neighbour flying in a tiny plane.

The 63-year-old, of Vicarage Lane, Stubbington, gave Jack Higgins the trip of a lifetime in a Microlight Flexwing aircraft – a small glider-like plane weighing less than 450kg. And the gesture meant the world to Jack, who turns 91 in December. 'It was quite a new experience for me,' he said. 'I've only been in commercial aircraft before. I like to try everything. It was brilliant. It was amazing to see the Spinnaker Tower. It was quite a good view because it's not like a commercial plane."

Jack found out Cliff, a member of the Lee Flying Association and Hamp-shire Microlight Flying Club, often took family and friends flying around the area. So he asked if he could have a go. He said: 'He (Cliff) flies quite often so I thought it was an opportunity not to miss.' And kind-hearted Cliff was happy to oblige – even though he was worried about Jack's age. 'My neighbour was intrigued by it,' he said. 'And we are quite a friendly neighbourhood. 'He's probably the eldest person anybody from the club has had in their plane. 'He was quite excited about it. He wanted to do something a bit different. 'I was a bit anxious at the beginning because he's an elderly gentleman. 'But I think he wanted to do something a bit special and adventurous.'

The pair were in the air for around 45 minutes, taking off from the old HMS Daedalus site in Lee-on-the-Solent and travelling up to Titchfield and Wickham and back again. They also travelled up to Portsmouth Harbour. Cliff added: 'We fly a lot of people who are interested. We want to get other people interested in flying. It's a fast growing air sport. 'We have raised a lot of money for charities through the club. We always sponsor a charity every year and try and support that.'

The full article  in The News newspaper.
 
Last Updated: 28 October 2009 9:48 AM
  • Source: The News
  • Location: Portsmouth