A pensioner from Bourne End was named the region’s most inspirational older person after turning her dream of flying into reality.

Jean Hoare took the top prize at the regional finals of Inspirational Generation, a contest by housebuilder McCarthy and Stone to find and rewards people over 60 with an inspiring story to tell.

Her love of flying started when she was nine-years-old, watching airwoman Amy Johnson at an airfield near her home.

She joined the women’s Royal Navy Service and, when she started her flying career, she was chosen to march in the Victory Parade.

The 92-year-old then joined Flight Refuelling Ltd and was involved in carrying out trials to refuel aircrafts while airborne.

After winning a flying scholarship and making her first solo flight, Jean got married and travelled the world with her husband, who was a BEA captain – now known as British Airways.

She saw off stiff competition from across the north London region.

Jean was one of just three finalists from the region in the competition, receiving £200 to be donated to her nominated charity – Thames Valley Air Ambulance – and a £50 hamper.

She said: “I’m delighted to be the regional winner of the competition.

“I decided to enter the search for the Inspirational Generation because I took-up flying – my life-long passion – after watching the wonderful Amy Johnson, and I would love to inspire others the same way she inspired me.

“I think it’s important we recognise the achievements of older people because we achieve great things both old and young, and that should be recognised throughout our lives.”

Stephen Rolt, regional sales and marketing director for McCarthy and Stone North London, said: “We are thrilled for Jean. She is a very worthy winner.”