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Stan celebrates 90th birthday with Tiger Moth flight
4:00pm Saturday 13th October 2012 in Latest
BIRTHDAY boy Stan Symes had an uplifting treat when he was taken up in a vintage Tiger Moth aeroplane to celebrate being 90 years young.
The Bournemouth pensioner was given the surprise present by his daughter Marilyn Aldred on his birthday and took off four days later at Compton Abbas airfield in north Dorset, suitably attired in flying jacket, hat and goggles.
His wife Joan, their four children, six of the couple’s eight grandchildren, partners and seven great-grandchildren were there to watch. After the high flier had come back to earth, their party enjoyed a birthday meal and cake at Compton Abbas restaurant.
“It was a secret right up until his birthday, when I gave him the flight voucher so he could get used to the idea. He was so excited – he couldn’t wait. The weather was perfect and he was certainly up for it. He loved it,” said Marilyn.
The meal was also a surprise and was the first time all the family had got together since Stan’s retired from a lifetime of working as a train driver 25 years ago.
Stan, of Ensbury Park, said: “I enjoyed it very much. It was obviously completely different from driving trains, but once I got the feel of it, it was no problem. It was a really wonderful day.”
He was involved with Swanage Railway for 27 years, initially training drivers and firemen, then after retirement, continuing as a volunteer driving on the line for 13 years, giving up at the age of 78 when he had to have a heart operation.
The author of Fifty-five Years on the Footplate and various training manuals, he still tries to stay active. He enjoys model making and working on his model railway and is writing another book about the railways and engines he worked on during his career.