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Bupa nurse Yvonne Dyer helps Sidcup man Richard Gately's flying wish come true
A TERMINALLY-ill man’s last wish to fly was realised with the help of a nurse at his care home.
Motor Neurone disease sufferer Richard Gately, 73, was taken for a flight in a two-seater Bulldog plane on Wednesday.
Richard has been a resident at Bupa’s Sidcup Nursing and Residential Centre in Hatherley Road for three years and is in the final stages of the disease which has robbed him of his mobility, bar some movement in his fingers.
He said he had wanted to go flying since his family bought him a hot air balloon ride 15 or 20 years ago and his wish was granted after mentioning it by chance to the home’s nurse training co-ordinator Yvonne Dyer.
Yvonne said: “I heard him say he would love to fly. I said I thought I could do this because I support a charity called Aerobility that trains people with disabilities to become pilots.”
Richard said he didn’t think it would come to fruition but was pleasantly surprised when Yvonne came “bounding” into his room the next morning.
He said: “I suppose I have not got too long left, so the flight came at the right time.”
Volunteers from the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice drove Richard, his son Mark, granddaughter Isabel and care home staff to Blackbushe Airfield in Camberley, Hampshire.
He was hoisted into the aircraft for the flight, which Aerobility provided at cost price.
Richard said: “What a fine day. It was beautiful.
“I think my bravery in going was put to the test – 1,000 feet is a long way to fall – but I had a fantastic time. I can’t thank Yvonne enough for what she has done.”
Yvonne said: “Sometimes we get wishes from residents. If people have a wish, we try to fulfil it.
“It is at the heart of what we do.”
Richard is raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice, both of which have helped him, and would welcome donations to those causes.