A BARNSLEY woman who passed away at the age of 70, fulfilled her final wish of travelling to space after her death.
Before her passing, Elizabeth Garcia arranged to have her ashes scattered in the stratosphere, marking an extraordinary tribute to her life. She was joined on the flight by her cat Chloe, who had passed away some time before Elizabeth.
Born in St. Albans, Elizabeth's early years were marked by her friendly personality and confidence that blossomed during her upbringing in Doncaster with her younger siblings Jean and John. She won the Miss Yorkshire beauty competition during her teenage years.
In the early 1980s, she, her husband John, and their son Mark relocated to Barnsley and established a successful business installing suspended ceilings and acoustic insulation. Elizabeth's sister Jean said: "They enjoyed travelling and socialising. She was a very generous person helping family and friends without question."
After being diagnosed with a heart condition that gave her approximately two years to live, Elizabeth took the initiative to arrange her own funeral.
Her final wish, to travel to space alongside her cat Chloe, led her to Aura Flights, a Sheffield-based space memorial provider.
Jean said: "Her wish was for her ashes to be sent into space. She contacted Aura Flights who were very attentive to her requests."
Elle Lilley, the Client Care and Liaison at Aura Flights, spoke to Elizabeth regularly through the booking process, and sometimes just for a chat.
Elle said: "It's extra special doing the launch for someone you've spoken with so much — knowing how much she wanted to be scattered in space and being able to fulfil that for her really was a rewarding and heart-warming feeling."
Elizabeth's ashes travelled over 100,000 feet above the Earth in Aura Flights' scatter vessel, which was lifted by a specialist stratospheric balloon filled with lighter-than-air hydrogen gas. A photograph of Elizabeth adorned the intelligent scatter vessel, which released her ashes in a gentle cascade at peak altitude, allowing them to travel the world through stratospheric winds.
The memorial flight and space scattering were filmed by cameras aboard the spacecraft, and the resulting footage was used to create the memorial video which included select clips from the flight, interspersed with photos of Elizabeth and messages from loved ones.
Less than two months after celebrating her 70th birthday, loved ones were watching Elizabeth and Chloe's final adventure into space.
Emotions ran high as they embarked on their celestial voyage, fulfilling Elizabeth's dream.
Jean said: "It was emotional, but special, knowing this was exactly what Elizabeth wanted, she would have been elated with the outcome, as were we all."