British Airways Dreamflight 30th Anniversary
To celebrate an incredible three decades of the charity Dreamflight, a supercharged send-off at Heathrow saw Paralympian heroes, joined by TV presenter and mum of two Myleene Klass, wave off the trip that changed their lives when they were children.
Myleene Klass said: "It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting the children here today. Dreamflight is a unique charity and it’s been wonderful to see how excited the kids are to be flying to Florida in style on their own private British Airways jet.”
Hundreds of excited youngsters were inspired to realise their dreams as they met Gold medallist Paralympians Natasha Baker MBE (Dressage rider), David Smith (Boccia), and Sascha Kindred (Swimming), who flew in specially to meet them before their departure on Dreamflight, bound for Orlando, Florida.
Every year Dreamflight raises funds to enable a specially chartered British Airways jumbo jet to fly almost 200 children with a serious illness or disability to Florida to enjoy a fun packed ten-day trip of a lifetime, where they spend time at attractions including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.
Natasha Baker MBE and David Smith, who both won Gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympics last month, travelled on the trip when they were younger and came back this year to celebrate Dreamflight’s anniversary and share their stories with the children. Thirty seven Paralympic medals have been won by former Dreamflight children.
Natasha Baker MBE said: “Dreamflight totally changed my life. I went from being such a dependent, shy child to a confident young lady and it’s just great to see that it can happen to so many other people.”
British Airways comes together with the Dreamflight team each year to make the departure an extra-special event. An army of volunteers, including Darth Vader, his Stormtroopers, the Air Cadet National Marching Band and British Airways cabin crew and pilots were at Heathrow to see the children board the Boeing 747 through a magical castle.
Since the first flight in 1987, more than 5,400 children have flown on ‘Dreamflight’, and for many – it’s the very first time they’ve travelled abroad and been away without their family. The young fliers are accompanied by the Dreamflight team, British Airways cabin crew, and a fully trained medical team, which includes doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, on hand 24 hours a day throughout the trip.
British Airways Senior First Officer, Rebecca Statham said: “This is my first year flying the Dreamflight aircraft to Florida. The children are such an inspiration to us all, and I feel honoured to be part of the British Airways team supporting this wonderful once-in-a-lifetime trip.”