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Let's take to the skies – Former RAF pilot's dream to return to the cockpit comes true

Highlighted home news

A care home in Horley organised a special trip for a retired RAF pilot to return to the cockpit of the plane he flew during World War Two.  

Tony Locks, aged 92, a resident at Care UK’s  Amherst house  on Court Lodge Road, was surprised by the care home team with a visit to Gatwick’s Aviation Museum to see the plane he once operated.

After finding out about Tony’s former career as an RAF pilot, the team at Amherst House worked with volunteers from the museum to grant Tony’s wish to see the Shackleton aircraft again. Upon arrival, Tony was given a pilot’s jacket for his visit, which matched the wings on the cap he was already wearing.

A guided tour was organised for the former pilot who met with a current pilot to discuss flying tips and tricks in a Shackleton plane. The pilots discussed how the planes were used to hunt submarines in the war and the different responsibilities of the servicemen on board.

Tony also had the opportunity to sit in a cockpit simulator for the first time since leaving the RAF, before enjoying a guided tour through the airplanes and their engines. 


Commenting on the visit, Tony said: “I loved visiting the museum and seeing the planes up close again. Planes today no longer look like planes – they are more like hotels now!” 

Amherst House is not new to granting wishes, the care home has a Wishing Tree initiative which allows residents to suggest ideas for activities they would like to do. This supports residents to live fulfilling lives – from ziplining through mountains to a fish and chip supper, with no wish too big or small. 

Cristina Cristea, General Manager at Amherst House, said: “At Amherst House, we encourage residents to lead fulfilling lives, whether that comes from helping out in the garden or flying down memory lane like Tony. 

“It was lovely to see Tony reconnect with something he is passionate about. He was in his element at the museum sharing his knowledge but also taking in what the tour guides had to say too. 

“We were thrilled to be able to make Tony’s wish become reality. He had a wonderful time and loved every minute of seeing the planes up close. We want to say a big thank you to the team at Gatwick’s Aviation Museum and look forward to granting more wishes for the residents at Amherst House soon.”

Amherst House has been designed to deliver the very best standards of care and to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives in a luxury environment. The home provides full-time residential care, nursing care, dementia care and respite care. 

To find out more about Amherst House, please call Customer Relations Manager, Terri Rowe on 01293 735820 or email  

For more general information, visit:  

Open to new residents

287 Court Lodge Road, Horley, Surrey, RH6 8RG

Amherst House

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club

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