The first time Pat crossed the Atlantic it was to appear in The Ultimate Celebration of Doctor Who at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel in Chicago, Illinois over the weekend of 26th and 27th November 1983. The two-day event attracted over seven thousand fans that had paid $50 for a ticket. Guests included all of the Doctors, Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and Peter Davison. Other guests were Nicholas Courtney, Ian Marter, John Nathan-Turner, Anthony Ainley, John Leeson, Janet Fielding, Elisabeth Sladen, Carole Ann Ford, Mark Strickson, Sarah Sutton, Louise Jameson, Mary Tamm, Nicola Bryant, Fiona Cumming, Ian Fraser, Gary Downie, Julie Brennan, Terry Nation, Peter Moffatt and Matthew Waterhouse.
Dad had never enjoyed flying and this was the first long-haul flight he had been on for some time. His fear of heights and associated vertigo were a real barrier to him and this had ruled out many holidays abroad. Years later when I moved to Suffolk with my family, I got to know a B.A. airline pilot who by coincidence had flown the very aircraft that Dad had taken in 1983. He remembered great excitement in the cockpit realising who their VIP passenger was and before taxiing to the runway, invited Dad to sit with them during take-off. My father politely declined and told him,
‘I am very scared of flying. While you are driving the plane I shall be gripping the armrests, sipping my ‘nogin’ [whisky] and willing the engines to keep going!’
More photos to follow...