Banbury care home resident’s Spitfire wish fulfilled with help from Eamonn and Ruth

Violet Mitchell (centre) with Ruth Langsford, Eamonn Holmes, her sister, the team from Highmarket House and the museum
Violet Mitchell (centre) with Ruth Langsford, Eamonn Holmes, her sister, the team from Highmarket House and the museum

When the team at a Banbury care home found out that a resident had a hankering to see a Spitfire plane again, they quickly set to work.

Little did they expect that help to fulfill Violet Mitchell’s wish would arrive in the shape of Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes as part of their Channel 5 show Do The Right Thing.

Violet and Jon Sneath from Highmarket House doing filming for the TV show at the RAF museum in Hendon

Violet and Jon Sneath from Highmarket House doing filming for the TV show at the RAF museum in Hendon

The Highmarket House resident left school during the war and found herself working in a factory in Oxford where they made and repaired Spitfires at the age of 17.

It was a time in her life that is particularly vivid for Violet – not just because she was undertaking such an unexpected role but also that her childhood sweetheart, Fred, had been sent away to Somerset to do his bit for the war effort.

Earlier this year, a plan was hatched with Channel 5 to bring Violet, who lives at the Care UK-run home on North Bar Place, to the RAF museum at Hendon which has four of the iconic World War Two aircraft.

Accompanied by her daughter and some of the team from Highmarket House, Violet was astonished to find herself chatting to Ruth who she normally likes to watch on TV.

Violet putting her wish on the tree at Highmarket House

Violet putting her wish on the tree at Highmarket House

After chatting about Violet’s time working at the Spitfire factory in Oxford and looking at old photos, Ruth and Eamonn took Violet through the museum to see the Spitfire.

The moment was captured on film and shown on TV on February 8.

To add to a memorable day, the production team presented Violet with a book, signed for her by Esther Rantzen, who is also a presenter on Do The Right Thing.

The book charts the adventures of Esther’s colourful relative Diana Barnato Walker who flew planes, including Spitfires during the war.

Violet’s wish to see a Spitfire came about as a result of a pioneering initiative that is seen in all 120 homes run by Care UK.

The team collects wishes that residents would like to see fulfilled and these are displayed in the home – usually on some kind of tree.

Previous wishes have ranged from having a driving lesson to going back to the stately home where a resident worked as a young woman to enjoying a morning of professional flamenco dancing.

Care UK lifestyle lead Jon Sneath accompanied Violet to Hendon. Commenting on the day he said: “I truly believe that making wishes come true for residents in our homes is a fantastic way of showing society that, just because you’ve moved into a home, you can still do things you’ve always wanted to do.

“It also gives residents a sense of fulfilment and provides endless opportunities for conversation and reminiscence among all the residents and team members in home – something that is particularly important for those living with dementia.”

Violet’s starring role in the programme was celebrated in style with residents and team members packing into the home’s cinema to watch the show.

The programme is available to watch at channel5.com/show/do-the-right-thing