Janet’s special memories of a Canadian dream

Janet Hunt in her tearoom in Woodhall Spa. EMN-180730-113943001
Janet Hunt in her tearoom in Woodhall Spa. EMN-180730-113943001

It was, she says, absolutely fantastic - the trip of a lifetime.

Janet Hunt is back in the tea rooms she owns in the heart of Woodhall Spa.

The Canadian Lancaster 'Vera' sets out to taxy for the final time to RAF Coningsby's runway, about to be followed by the BBMF Lancaster 'Thumper'. Photo by Oscarpix Imaging. EMN-180730-114906001

The Canadian Lancaster 'Vera' sets out to taxy for the final time to RAF Coningsby's runway, about to be followed by the BBMF Lancaster 'Thumper'. Photo by Oscarpix Imaging. EMN-180730-114906001

It’s lunchtime. She’s chopping up salad and keeping an eye on a jacket potato whirring around in a microwave.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Janet was in Canada.

It was no ordinary holiday. As previously revealed in the News, Janet and her daughter Purdey were invited guests of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Society.

It’s nearly four years since the Society flew their Lancaster bomber ‘Vera’ across the Atlantic to link with ‘Thumper’, the Lancaster owned and maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby.

When the Canadians weren’t flying, they were in Janet’s tea room which is packed to overflowing with RAF memorabilia, most it connected with 617 Dambusters Squadron.

The Canadians invited Janet to their country.

So last month, she plucked up the courage to fly - for the first time in her life. She is in her 80s.

The result according to Janet was an unforgettable experience.

“They treated us like royalty,” she says, dropping a handful of grated cheese into that potato.

“From the second we landed to the second we left, they wouldn’t let us do everything.

“They took us all over. Nothing was too much trouble.

“It was a bit embarrassing really because I didn’t do that much for them when they were over here.”

Janet and Purdey were given a guided tour of the Heritage Society’s base at a museum near Ontario.

They were re-united with Vera.

“We had a tour inside. It was good to see Vera again and she’s doing really well.

“The Canadians are on about coming over again next Spring, because it’s the fifth a anniversary of their last visit.

“I don’t think Vera will be coming though.

“It’s a bit too far for her and I know how she feels. Seven hours on that plane (to Canada). I could hardly walk when I got there!”

Janet admits the flight was daunting but even that included a memorable experience.

She explains: “We’d be in the air for a couple of hours and I was still strapped into my seat, not daring to look out of the window.

“Suddenly, the captain’s voice came over the intercom, asking if there was a Janet Hunt on board. He presented me with a certificate he’d signed. I also got a postcard signed by the entire crew. The Canadians had contacted them to tell them why I was on the plane. It was really special.”