Much as we enjoy flying all types of clients, last night’s VIP takes some beating.
We were very proud to fly 7-year old Ted McCaffery, from Warrington, to Disneyland Paris as part of his LIDL Young Fundraiser of the Year award – one of the categories in the heart-warming Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, which recognise remarkable and brave achievements. The awards took place yesterday evening at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, and the red carpet attendees included A-list celebrities, royalty and politicians.
The surprise trip, provided by Disney Destinations, was recognition for Ted’s bravery when, after overcoming major heart surgery, he embarked on a fundraising campaign to help provide facilities for other children in his position.
His brave efforts included competing in a mini-triathlon just eight weeks after his operation; and launching a social media campaign #showusyourbear to raise funds and awareness for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Merseyside, where he was treated.
Pop star Olly Murs, who presented Ted with his award, unveiled details of the extra surprise on stage. He then accompanied Ted and his family as they were whisked to London Luton Airport during the ceremony, where we were waiting for them onboard a 12-seater Legacy 600 private jet aircraft.
All went according to plan – apart from the weather of course, which always likes to keep us on our toes. With heavy rain and strong winds in Central London yesterday, the initial plan to fly from London City Airport has to be changed in the afternoon.
As a Category C airport, (the most challenging for pilots due to steep approaches or other unusual features), London City is more vulnerable to temporary closures in bad weather. That’s what happened yesterday – unfortunately for the London City team, who were all ready and waiting to welcome Ted, his family and the media crews from ITV, Good Morning Britain, Daily Mirror and Disney.
So instead we flew from London Luton Airport. We are very used to arranging flights and and making changes at short notice so it was no problem. But thanks to the team at Luton’s Landmark Aviation and the aircraft’s operator Air X, for helping everything to go smoothly.
Before take-off, Ted and Olly enjoyed a photo opportunity on the steps and in the flight deck. I think we may have a budding new pilot or two on our hands! The group then continued their celebrations during the flight to Paris Le Bourget Airport.
Ted, we wish you and your family a wonderful time at Disneyland Paris and all the very best for the future.
The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards will be shown at 8pm tonight on ITV1