26th January 2024

Smile in the sky drawn for hospice patient

A smiley face drawn in the sky using a plan's vapour trails. The sky is bright blue and trees line the bottom half of the image, taken in the hospice's gardens.

A SMILE was drawn in the sky this afternoon (Friday, 26 January) especially for a patient being cared for at St Richard’s Hospice.

Aerobatic pilot Rich Goodwin created the sky-high spectacle for patient Ray Stanton, 66, an aeroplane enthusiast and former transportation engineer.

Ray, who lives in Worcester, enjoyed the show with his wife, Angela Stanton, and two children Sophie-Rae Byrne and Matthew Stanton.

“To see the smile in the sky and then look at Ray’s smile was just fantastic,” said Angela.

“I haven’t seen him smile for a while. The care here is above and beyond anything.”

Ray, pictured in bed in the hospice's gardens on a bright blue-skied day. Around him are his family, including his wife and children.

Ray, who has cancer, has had a life-long passion for aircraft and transport.

His children fondly remember going to air shows and museums with their dad, where he would share his extensive knowledge with them.

Mike Wilkerson, Chief Executive at St Richard’s Hospice, said: “This was such a special moment for everyone watching – and we feel privileged to have helped make it happen for Ray and his family.

“We would like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to Rich for creating such precious memories for Ray, his family, and everyone who witnessed the smile in the sky.”

Listen again – BBC Hereford and Worcester interview

Hear Sophie-Rae speak to BBC H&W’s Malcolm Boyden about her dad, and the experience of seeing the smile in the sky.

St Richard’s Hospice is an independent charity caring for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment to their last days and supporting those important to them.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,100 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

It costs £10.28m to run the hospice (22/23 audited accounts), which includes patient care and all the necessary support services.

St Richard’s relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with the remainder funded by the NHS.