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Flying high as whirlybirds from Charles Dickens Lodge take to the sky

16 October 2017

Helicopter Flight Barnard Castle Durham 1

Thrill-seeking residents from Charles Dickens Lodge in Barnard Castle, County Durham, have been ticking things off their bucket list with an adrenaline-fuelled experience aboard a helicopter in the skies above the North East.

The unforgettable flying treat was another event organised by Julie Fawcett, their estate manager, who in the last few years has created a vibrant retirement housing environment boasting a host of social activities for residents. These include the breeding of chickens, hosting visits from exotic animals and mystery tours on a 1959 vintage double decker bus.

Five residents from the estate, including 99-year-old Gladys Sparks boarded a Guimbal Cabri G2 chopper as they each took in iconic landmarks, such as the Angel of the North, the Cheviot Hills and Souter Lighthouse as part their scenic adventure.

Speaking about her exhilarating flight, Gladys said: ‘It’s been well over forty years since I’ve seen a helicopter up close. The last time was when I visited my brother who worked at Fairey Aviation in Hayes. He was a qualified pilot and flew helicopters during the Second World War.

‘I had never been in one though and it's something I have always dreamed of doing, so I can tick that off my list now!’

Julie Fawcett said: ‘Whilst some would say we live in the sticks, I am proud to say that we have a fun-loving and adventurous group of residents who are always seeking to try and maintain their health and wellbeing by trying out new activities. It’s wonderful to be able to help change perceptions of what the older generation can get up to. These are certainly residents who like living life to the max.’

While they not yet sure what they'll be doing next, following the helicopter flight the residents are determined it will involve yet another adrenaline fix.

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