Former army mechanic fulfils lifelong dream of flying a plane aged 82 thanks to care home

Roger Mashall

An 82-year-old former army mechanic has fulfilled his lifelong wish to fly a plane.

Roger Mashall, a resident at Dashwood Manor care home in Basingstoke, Hampshire, took to the skies on Monday after years of longing to sit in the pilot’s seat.

He joined the Army as an apprentice in 1956, working as a mechanic on small armoured military vehicles and spending a short amount of time fixing aircraft.

Roger Mashall said the views were spectacular Credit: Care UK Dashwood Manor/PA

Mr Mashall headed to Blackbushe Airport, in Camberley, Surrey, on Monday and, after some training on the ground, was ready and prepared to fly at midday.

He said: “It was a brilliant experience which I would do over and over again. To take control of the plane gave me a real sense of freedom and power.

“The views were spectacular and very green. I am so happy the weather was in our favour.”

Mr Mashall had put his wish on the Wishing Tree, an initiative from Care UK where residents can suggest ideas for new hobbies and activities they would like to try and places they would like to visit.

He was inspired by his friend and fellow resident, Dennis Moulton, who jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet for charity earlier this year.

Roger Mashall took control of the plane Credit: Care UK Dashwood Manor/PA

Dil Perera, home manager at Dashwood Manor, said: “Here at Dashwood Manor no wish is too big or too small, and so when Roger said he wanted to fly a plane we knew we had to make his dream a reality.

“We are thrilled to have helped Roger complete his lifelong wish and it was wonderful to see the smile on his face as he landed after his flight.

“The team at Dashwood Manor have organised many wishes for residents in the past 12 months, including the skydive for Dennis, a tattoo for Helen, a resident who wished for a tabby cat tattoo, and now a flying lesson for Roger.

“I am very proud of the team who consistently go above and beyond to make resident wishes come true.”