When we welcome new residents to Melrose Care, we always encourage them to furnish their private rooms with photographs and mementoes from home. This helps to create a familiar environment, making it easier to settle in during a time of transition. Chatting about photos and past memories also helps us to get to know the elderly people in our care, and it’s always a pleasure to hear their reminiscences.
Doris Lifford came to live at Melrose Care two years ago, and one of the photos she brought along was a picture taken aboard Concorde. Doris told us that she was scared of flying until her husband persuaded her to brave a supersonic flight to celebrate his retirement.
Doris’s son, John, takes up the story: “The year was 1983 and my father, Ted, was about to retire from his job as an electrical engineer. He’d worked in the aviation industry throughout his career, and had helped to develop the jet engine for Concorde. However, he’d never actually flown on the aircraft, so as his retirement approached he decided that he’d like to celebrate by booking a day trip to Egypt on Concorde.
“Mum’s attitude was ‘That’s great, but you’re going on your own!’. She had flown once or twice but found the experience frightening, and had no intention of ever going up in an aeroplane again. Dad was determined though, and convinced her that a supersonic flight would be more comfortable, as Concorde would be flying at such a high altitude there was little chance of turbulence.
“Mum and Dad set off very early one morning to Heathrow Airport, where they enjoyed a Champagne breakfast – the Champagne definitely helped Mum’s nerves by all accounts! Mum loved the First Class flight to Cairo, the onward trip by road to see the pyramids, and a wonderful lunch. The flight back to London went smoothly too, so all in all the day couldn’t have been more successful.”
Despite the positive experience, Doris, now aged 97, hasn’t flown again. She says that although she enjoyed her supersonic flight, at £835 per person (equivalent to around £2,600 today) it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime treat!
Thank you, Doris and John, for sharing your family story. Watch out for more trips down memory lane on our blog in the coming months, including an adventurous life story from our resident John.