A 100-year-old grandmother has said chocks away and lived one of her life long dreams as she flew a plane to celebrate her milestone birthday.

Mary Bell, who lives at Lavender Hills care home in Ramsbottom, marked her 100th birthday earlier this year, and told staff that she would love to do a parachute jump or aeroplane wing walk to mark the occasion.

Although her wish was initially ruled out, after some research and checks from Mrs Bell’s doctors, care home staff managed to arrange for her to fulfill her dream and fly a plane.

Mrs Bell said: “I didn’t think anyone would take me up on my wish and I was very surprised that they let me do it. It was the best day of my life.”

Mrs Bell’s passion and curiosity for aircraft had first been sparked by her husband Harold’s Second World War RAF service, when he maintained Lancaster Bombers.

During the war Mrs Bell had raised the couple’s eight children while her husband was away.

In the build up to her flight Mrs Bell practised flying a plane at the care home, but unfortunately the flight was cancelled twice due to poor weather conditions.

However last week a sunny day finally arrived and Mrs Bell, complete with her leather flying hat and jacket, took off from Barton Aerodrome in Eccles to soar into the sky.

Once in the air Mrs Bell was able to take control and steer over Ramsbottom, to wave to her granddaughter at her work and circled Lavender Hills five times, where staff and residents stood with a banner saying “Go Mary”.

After over an hour in the clouds Mrs bell returned safely to earth with a beaming smile.

She said that the best part of the flight was seeing everyone wave to her, adding: “Oh it was grand. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Care home staff are now planning to arrange for Mrs Bell to do an extreme activity every year, and have said that for her 101st birthday they will organise something “equally as crazy”.

Helen Inman, manager at Lavender Hills, said: “Mary’s fantastic and fearless, she’s 100 years old and just proves to everyone you can do anything you want to do.”

Aileen Brennan, Mrs Bell’s Daughter, added: “It’s been amazing, my mum said it’s the best thing she’s ever done in her 100 years. We’re already talking about what she can do for her 101st next year.

“It’s amazing what they have done for my mum at Lavender Hills, I can’t thank them enough.”