A DEVASTATING diagnosis has prompted one Swanage man to pursue his dream of taking to the skies.
In January, Andy Munn went to the doctor after experiencing a ‘frozen shoulder’.
Weeks of tests followed, before in March he received news he feared – he has motor neurone disease (MND).
Doctors said his life expectancy was between six months and two years.
But rather than wallow in self pity, or mourn his condition, intrepid Andy has taken life by the scruff of the neck, and pursued his own ‘bucket list’ of experiences.
“The consultant told me I was going on a journey; I took that to heart,” the 59-year-old said.
“I’m on a train that I can’t get off. It will stop at stations but there’s nothing I can do, so I might as well sit back, look out the window, and enjoy the journey.”
Recently, he was at Compton Abbas Airfield to fulfill one of his dream experiences – flying in a Spitfire.
Andy’s father was a WW2 Fire Spotter, and his mother served in the Land Army, prompting an interest in aircraft from an early age.
His childhood bedroom didn’t have a ceiling, but a sky full of Airfix models, so flying in a Spitfire was “an absolute dream come true”.
“I’d have climbed up the ladder with my teeth if I had to,” he said.
Wife Julia was also part of the ride, flying alongside the Spitfire in a Harvard T6, snapping photos of Andy’s special moments.
They both even took over controls during the flight, tipping the planes from left to right.
Sadly, Andy can no longer make models, and has also had to recently give up work.
But he said being put in touch with someone else going through the same thing by a nurse, had helped.
“It’s nice to talk to someone who can relate,” he said. “Every day is different.”
Andy described how one day he can empty the dishwasher and put the cups away without issue, but the next he cannot even open the cupboard door.
And he praised Julia for her unfailing support.
“We are incredibly close,” he said. “She has struggled, but has been my rock.”
Julia has looked into anticipatory grief, and said she is accepting the loss, bit by bit.
“I cry at least once a day,” she said.
For her birthday in August, Julia raised £1,065 to help those with MND.
The couple encourage donations to the MND Association, who contributed to their flight experience.
And next for Andy? A ride in an Aston Martin.
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