'It was out of this world' - Boy's heartfelt letter helps grandad fulfill Spitfire dream at Goodwood
"What Harry did for me still leaves me speechless. He’s a very special boy.”
Those were the words of 80-year-old Malcolm Hanson, who was treated to a flight in a Spitfire for his birthday, thanks to a heartfelt letter to Goodwood, written by his 12-year-old grandson Harrison.
“It was out of this world," Malcolm said of the flight on Friday (May 28).
"It was quite emotional when I first saw the Spitfire and then climbing inside such an iconic machine was such an honour.
"I used to watch them protecting the skies over our flat in Battersea, London, when I was four, before being dragged into the shelter.
“Matt, my pilot from Boultbee Flight Academy, was so good. He let me take the controls and we performed a barrel roll and a victory roll.
"I’d never dreamed I could have done that in my lifetime.
“It has been a tough year, but thanks to the love and support from my family, we are getting through."
The dream flight was made possible because Harrison noticed that his grandad's mind was 'on other things' after his wife, who lives with Alzheimer's, had to be put into a nursing home last summer.
Harrison took it upon himself to write a letter asking for help to 'help me mend my grandad's broken heart'. Read more here
Staff at Boultbee Academy were so touched by the youngster's letter that they offered to also send him up in a 1940s Harvard.
Harrison said: "It was amazing to see my grandad go up and be able to fly alongside him as well. It was just so shocking.
"I thought it was just my grandad going up and I would be on the ground taking photos. They said to me, 'how about you go up next to him in this one here'.
"I really enjoyed it. At first, it sounded quite scary.
"My grandad really enjoyed it. We waved from the air and in the cockpits."
Harrison said he wanted to 'find the best way' to cheer his grandad up and make his 80th birthday a special one.
"It was music to my ears [when Goodwood replied]," he said.
"I just thought it would make him happy and smile again.
"When my grandad was a boy, he remembers seeing an enemy plane turning in a tight circle. His sister had to drag him inside because of the bullets.
"He's taught me everything I know [about the war]. I find it very interesting because it's my family's history. It's really fascinating for me."