All donations to support our services are always gratefully received but it is especially appreciated when we get to hear the story behind it. Veronica, daughter of Cyril Leeke who attends Withy Trees Day Service, shared the following story.
‘Last summer I took my dad, Cyril, to Devon to visit his 93 year old sister. On the way we stayed overnight near to the RAF Museum at Cosford. Dad was in the RAF during the 2nd World War serving on a base near Nagpur in India for over three years, so we decided to pay the museum a visit.
Dad thoroughly enjoyed our visit, seeing some very old planes including early prototypes and of course planes from the wartime. He worked on Douglas Dakotas in India. He was an airframe fitter. One of the photos is him standing near one.
While there I saw a leaflet called “Names on a Plane” and read it. To raise funds for the Museum you could pay to have your name, or a loved one’s name, painted on one of the Red Arrows planes for the whole of the aerobatic flying season in 2017.
Dad will be 95 in November 2017. I’ve already decided to have a big party for his 95th (why wait till he gets to 100?) so this was a perfect additional birthday surprise. We suggested very small donations from friends and family towards it and we were able to pay for his name on the plane and to send a further £170 to Age Concern Central Lancashire in dad’s name.
He was so surprised and delighted with his present, which included an Airfix kit of the Red Arrow, certificates, a facsimile letter from WW2 and a lapel badge, which he wears with pride. I just have to find out now where the Red Arrows are performing this summer and get dad to see them and hopefully his name on the plane.’
So, if you are at any events featuring the Red Arrows this summer look closely as it may be ‘Cyril’ flying overhead. Thank you Veronica for sharing this story and our very best wishes to you, Cyril, as you celebrate this special birthday year.