Bupa UK care home resident takes to the skies 70 years after leaving the RAF

24 August 2018 . United Kingdom

A 96-year-old RAF hero has taken to the skies again nearly 75 years after last piloting an aircraft – thanks to staff at his care home.

  • Bupa care home colleagues organised the trip for 96 year old great-grandfather, Bernard
  • It’s 73 years since he’s taken to the skies, and comes as RAF celebrates its centenary
  • Surprise is part of Bupa’s #nevertoolate campaign to help residents’ achieve their dreams

As a former pilot, great-grandfather Bernard Rye had longed to be airborne once again, but thought his flying days were over until Bupa colleagues arranged a surprise trip as part of a wish-granting programme.

Bernard was whisked aboard a Piper PA Cherokee Six for a 30 minute flight over Dorset and the Isle of Wight, accompanied by his son and flown by a volunteer pilot.

Now a resident at Bupa’s The Links care home near Bournemouth, Bernard joined the RAF in 1940 and toured the world in his Tiger Moth and Avro York planes.

He even had the honour of piloting Louis Mountbatten, the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, during his time in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

During this time he travelled to countries including South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand, and also spent time in the Middle East.

Bernard was nominated for the flying experience by Zoe McCarthy, Activities Lead at the Bupa care home, as part of their #nevertoolate campaign.

The campaign is being run across Bupa care homes to help residents live life to the full, while ticking off their bucket list. Elsewhere, in-home staff have worked to fulfil residents’ ambitions from meeting a musical icon through to seaside days out.

Zoe said: “Everyone’s got ambitions that they’d like to achieve and being in a care home shouldn’t get in the way of that.

“We all love hearing Bernard’s stories from his days in the RAF and he absolutely lights up when he tells them. That’s why we wanted to help him relive it, and organised his surprise for him.”

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for the major part of our business with 15.7m customers and contributes over 70% of revenue. We operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets, with 15m customers. We care for around 23,000 residents in our UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain aged care businesses.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Turkey, the US, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.