AN 85-year-old took to the skies for the first to fulfil a lifelong dream.

Kenneth Simmonds, who lives at Catherine Miller House in Leigh mentioned to a member of staff at the care that he had never had the opportunity to fly and she set about making it happen for him.

The result was a 30-minute flight in a four-seater aircraft which took off from Southend Airport.

Julie Grimmett, 38, activities manager at the care home said: “The plan is to find out what one wish every resident would like.

“I was having a chat with Ken about going on holiday to Spain and he said he’d love to go up in a plane.

“He was a bit nervous but as soon as we got the airport he got very excited about it.

“It was a beautiful day. The weather was absolutely wonderful. We flew over Canvey, Shoebury and Foulness and Ken was able to point out Foulness.

“He took over the controls from the pilot and was absolutely fine. We took him for a pint and a roast dinner afterwards. He loved it and said he wants to try a jet next time but I don’t think I’ll be helping him with that.”


Kenneth Simmonds getting ready for his first plane ride

Mr Simmonds, a former Southend Council employee, said: “I really enjoyed it. It was fantastic. I’ve sat in a plane on the ground but I’d never been up in the air. I had the controls for a while. It was brilliant. What Julie did for me was the best thing I ever had. She’s very good to me.”