72-year-old veteran and care home resident at Coopers Croft in Stoke-on-Trent, Neil Turner, was filled with ‘fond memories’ when care staff took him to see the RAF aircraft he once served on.
Neil joined the RAF in Cosford at age 16 in 1967 as a crafting apprentice. Neil said, ‘As a crafting apprentice I worked on Colins 618-t3 Receivers; I felt out of my depth as a teenager, but I was eager to learn.’
He rose through the ranks, becoming a corporal by age 21 and a sergeant by age 28, all the while working on one of the RAF’s ‘V Bombers’, the Avro Vulcan B2.
The Vulcan aircraft retired in 1984 and Neil became a Chief Technician, working across the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East. Today, of the 134 built, there are only 19 surviving Vulcan aircrafts around the world.
Although Neil took a four-year career break from the RAF in 1991 at the end of the Cold War, he soon returned as a Civilian Flight Commander, teaching avionics to others. After a total of 34 years with the RAF, Neil retired at age 62.
In February 2023, Neil moved into Coopers Croft, and after speaking to staff members about his memories of the RAF, the team organised to take Neil to visit the same Vulcan aircraft he served on during his time on the base.
Neil was given a VIP tour of the facility by fellow veteran and museum volunteer, Peter, with whom Neil shared stories about their service. Neil said,
‘I’m so thankful to have been taken to see the aircraft. The guide was very knowledgeable and talking with him brought back many fond memories and stories.’
A spokesperson from the RAF Museum Midlands said,
‘It was a pleasure to welcome RAF veteran Neil to the Museum and to see him reunited with the Vulcan.
‘Our purpose is to share the story of the RAF, past, present and future – using the stories of its people and our collections in order to engage, inspire and encourage learning. Hearing personal stories like that of Neil’s time in the RAF is what expands and enriches our understanding of the RAF today.’
Alex Field, the Home Manager at Coopers Croft, commented,
‘We love to talk to our residents about their life histories and proudest memories, so when Neil shared his story about serving in the RAF, we thought a visit to the RAF Museum to see his old aircraft would put a smile on his face – and it did!
‘We’d like to thank everyone at the museum for making Neil’s day so special, he couldn’t stop smiling after the trip.’
To find out more about living at Coopers Croft, please call 01782 355 483, email email@example.com or visit www.idealcarehomes.co.uk.
Coopers Croft, operated by Ideal Carehomes, offers 24 hour, person-centred residential and dementia care. With 66 ensuite bedrooms, attractive décor and landscaped gardens, Coopers Croft is welcoming new residents for short- and long-term placements with a unique all-inclusive fee to give peace of mind to residents and their families.