Mary Bell a 100-year-old resident at Lavender Hills care home in Ramsbottom finally got to fulfil one of her dreams today as she flew a plane from Barton Airport over her care home in Ramsbottom.


Mary celebrated her 100th Birthday in June this year when Lavender Hills care home organised a big party for Mary and all her family with a 1930’s style party which was filmed by channel 4’s extreme cake makers as a surprise cake turned up for Mary.

After speaking to Mary about what she would most like for her birthday Mary told staff at Lavender Hills and Millennium care she would love to parachute jump or wing walk as she has a great love of aircraft!

After some research and the go ahead from Mary’s doctor staff members of the care home and Millennium care got together to arrange for Mary to fly a plane over her Lavender Hills care home in Ramsbottom and around Manchester, Bolton and Bury.

The flight took a lot of planning, but Mary became more and more excited as the day grew closer and closer, everything would be planned for the day, but nothing could be done about the weather.

Mary’s flight was cancelled twice due to poor weather conditions, but this did not stop Mary and the dedicated team around her.

Mary and her family were very understanding that it needed to be 100% safe for Mary to go up and enjoy her flight.

Finally, the day arrived today where there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and by 11am the sun was shining over the Eccles airport.

Mary was due to fly at 11, she arrived at Barton Airport with her 2 daughters Aileen and Cherie where she met Helen Inman Lavender Hills Manager and Jeanie Kettle Lavender Hills admin Manager, both where there to wave as Mary flew off in to the clouds.

Mary got in to the plane with a great big smile wearing her leather flying jacket, leather hat, microphone and earphones.

Mary said “Chock’s away” with her thumbs in the air ready to fill one of her life long ambitions.

Mary’s husband worked for the royal air force during WW2 where he serviced planes for the Lancaster bombers.

Married in 1940 Mary and her Husband Harold had 8 children together, during the war while Harold was away Mary would look after their children trying to get as many rations as she could during the hard times.

Mary’s passion for aircraft started all those years ago with curiosity during Harold’s time in WW2.

Mary went up in the air and was able to take control after much practice in her care home she managed to steer the plane to the right and up in to the clouds.

Mary flew over to Ramsbottom, over her Granddaughter’s place of work where she was able to wave from the cockpit of the aircraft to Emma her Granddaughter.

Mary then headed over to Lavender Hills care home where staff and residents were stood outside with a banner saying “Go Mary” all waving as she circled the home 5 times flying herself.

After nearly an hour in the air Mary landed with a huge smile on her face and a wave to everyone like the Queen. Mary said, “Oh it were Grand!” “it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Mary was then interviewed by the BBC and Hits Radio for television and drive time radio.

Helen Inman Manager at Lavender Hills said, “She’s fantastic and fearless, she’s 100 years old and just proves to everyone you can do anything you want to do.”

Eileen Mary’s Daughter said, “It’s been amazing, my mum said it’s the best thing she’s ever done in her 100 years, we’re already talking about what she can do for her 101st next year, it’s amazing what they have done for my mum at Lavender Hills, I can’t thank them enough.”


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