Almost six months to the day after suffering a cardiac arrest, George Key fulfilled a 75-year dream by climbing inside a WWII Spitfire.
George, from Haverhill, was just five when he first saw a Spitfire in the skies above him in 1940, a sight that triggered a lifelong wish to get into the cockpit of one of the fighters.
On July 4, that dream came true after his daughter Jeanette organised a Spitfire themes party to celebrate his 80th birthday.
Supported by her sister Sandra, a lunch for 54 family and friends was arranged at The Conference Centre at The Imperial War Museum in Duxford, followed by his very own Spitfire fly-past.
But the best was to come when thee pilot allowed George to sit in the cockpit of the plane and study all the instrument panels etc. George was lost for words.
George said: “I didn’t now anything about it. All I knew what that I was going to Duxford to have a meal and I didn’t know any of the family were going to be there.
I was astounded. I just couldn’t put it into words.
“It was comfortable once I could sit down.
“Getting in was s bit difficult, especially at my age.”
On January 1, George was at home when he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Fortunately Jeanette, a nurse, was there and started lifesaving CPR - at the expense of two broken ribs - before Community First Responders and then an ambulance crew arrived to treat him and take him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where he stayed for five weeks before returning home.
Jeanette, Sandra and George’s wife Joan, all expressed their thanks to all those who played their part in saving George’s life.
Joan added: “When George came home he didn’t know anything about anything so he’s worked really hard to be where he is today and we are all very proud of him.”