Two elderly care home residents have fulfilled their bucket list wishes after taking to the skies in an iconic Virgin hot air balloon. Faith ‘Faye’ Fuller (85) and Maria Stoker (63), who currently reside at Surrey-based care home Abbey Chase, were recently surprised by staff with a magical flight over Henley-on-Thames, after revealing that it had long been a dream of theirs to take flight in a hot air balloon.
On 19th September 2019, Faith and Maria were whisked to a nearby launch site at Harpsden Airfield, where they attended a pilot briefing before being invited to help with the inflation of the hot air balloon. Then, it was time for their flight, which saw them soar above Henley-on-Thames, taking in the spectacular views as the sun set in the distance. After an hour in the sky, Faith and Maria were greeted back on land with a traditional champagne toast, before receiving a certificate signed by their pilot and endorsed by Sir Richard Branson himself.
Speaking of her day, Faith said: “I have always wanted to take off in a hot air balloon and the experience was everything I thought it would be, and more! Seeing Henley-on-Thames from the skies was absolutely breath-taking and enjoying a glass of champagne when we were back on the ground was a lovely way to round off a wonderful day. I didn’t want it to end!”.
Maria added: “I’m very grateful to the staff at Abbey Chase for arranging such a wonderful day for me and Faith. We’ve often talked about how amazing it would be to go up in a hot air balloon, and now to have finally done it feels amazing.”
Roz Salmani, Manager of CHD Living owned care home, Abbey Chase, said: “We are so happy that we were able to arrange for Faith and Maria to tick off one of their bucket list wishes. It was wonderful to see how much enjoyment they got from the day and to hear them recall the experience to all of their family and friends.”