A single spitfire took to the skies above the Solent on Saturday to mark the joint 85th birthday celebrations of Chris Jolliffe, a retired Concorde Captain and his wife, Josephine, an ex-BOAC stewardess.
The whole of Ryde seafront was treated to a 10 minute spectacle of pure aviation joy as the iconic Spitfire soared above the skies of the Solent. Dipping, diving, looping the loop and thrilling all who watched, it showed everyone just why this aeroplane was the crowning glory of the RAF a few years short of 80 years ago.
Anyone of a certain age will have instantly recognised the distinctive roar of the Merlin engines reverberating from behind the clouds for a good minute before it eventually appeared to give an electrifying performance prompting cheers and echoing roars of approval from its appreciative audience.
Chris and Jo moved to the Isle of Wight to run The Wellington Lodge Hotel in 1978. They celebrated together on Saturday alongside friends and the family, including 14 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
The Jolliffes were absolutely delighted with their birthday display. Chris said:
“The pilot, John Dodd, did the most fantastic job – if he’d been armed with guns, we wouldn’t have stood a chance. I don’t know him personally but he’d be very welcome to drop by if he’s ever over this way”.