Super senior citizen Chrissie Miller has become a high flying hundred-year-old after fulfilling a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel in a hot air balloon.
Chrissie took to the skies after staff at Bield’s Glasgow Flexicare Service were able to arrange the flight as part of their Wishing Tree initiative.
Chrissie, and her main carer, Jacqui Malarkey, were able to enjoy an hour long flight, 1000ft over rural Perthshire.
Jacqui said ”The hot air balloon ride was a really wonderful experience, Chrissie was absolutely delighted with the afternoon. The flight took about an hour and then when we were back on the ground Chrissie was greeted with some whiskey and a birthday cake, which was a true surprise.”
Chrissie said “It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”
Jacqui, Chrissie’s primary carer said “This has been a great opportunity to showcase what Bield’s Flexicare programme can offer its service users who might not otherwise have the opportunity to leave their homes.
Chrissie receives care seven days a week at her home in Scotstounhill from Bield’s Glasgow Flexicare Service – a specialist project which supports older people who have memory difficulties or a diagnosis of dementia. It promotes the need to keep people in their own homes and in their own communities to live independent lives.
The service runs a Wishing Tree project which allows people, with the help of their key workers, to record their most personal wishes, add them to a luggage tag and then hang them on a tree in the hope that their wish can come true.
Bernadette Farrell, Glasgow Flexicare manager, said: “The Wishing Tree Project is a fun way to go the extra mile for the people we care for, whether its reuniting our service users with distant relatives or making their birthday wishes come true – such as by sending them up in a hot air balloon.
“Chrissie has always wanted to travel in a hot air balloon, an idea sparked from foreign travel when she was younger. Chrissie has fond memories of travelling to Switzerland, Austria and even to the borders of Russia. She has also watched many air balloon flights from the ground but has not had the opportunity to go in one herself. So we were very proud that we could make this dream come true for her. I also heard from Chrissie that she was able to sing her favourite song “Up, Up and Away” when she was on her balloon flight!”
To quote Chrissie herself “It was smashing! I was away up in the clouds!”
Bernadette added that “Flexicare is about helping older people stay in their community, ensuring that they can do the things that they want to do when they want to do them. Our trained and knowledgeable staff team can support service users to continue living independently by themselves for longer, all of which fulfils Bield’s ‘Free to Be’ philosophy.”
Virgin Balloon Flights, who operate trips from its Auchterarder base, were delighted to offer Chrissie a complementary flight.
Hannah Keane from Virgin Balloon Flights said: “It was a privilege to have flown Chrissie and Jacqui. Knowing that we’ve made her 100th birthday wish come true is an absolute honour.
“Chrissie was a real character and to see her and all the other passengers enjoy their sky-high experience was incredible.”