Monday, 23 October 2017

Teenage pilot to attempt helicopter fundraiser

A TEENAGE pilot is to attempt to fly a helicopter to 10 children's hospitals around the country in just a day.

Hugh Barklem, 18, of Lambridge Lane, Henley, will be raising money for the ArriveAliveAppeal, which aims to build helipads on the roofs of the hospitals for use by air ambulances.

He will be joined for the flight on August 24 or 25 by the charity's founder John Nowell.

They will be travelling in a Robinson R44 helicopter owned by Hugh's father, Nigel who runs a media company in London.

Hugh will be flying the helicopter while Mr Nowell will navigate and take pictures of the hospitals they visit.

The former Gillotts School pupil, who became the country's youngest helicopter pilot last year, said: "The charity approached me with the idea.

"I was going to do the challenge solo but John decided to come along.

"We will fly over each hospital and take pictures on the roofs as the main thing is to raise awareness that they don't have helipads."

The pair will start at Southampton General Hospital before flying to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle, Hull Royal Infirmary, Nottingham Children's Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Hugh said: "Planning the route and getting clearance for the air space will be the main challenges — all the hospitals are in big cities."

As part of the challenge, the duo will be competing in an international flying competition called Dawn to Dusk set up by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Competitors attempt a flying challenge of their choice with the only rule that they complete it in a day and spend a minimum of eight hours in the air.

Hugh said: "The idea is to prove your machine and do something outstanding in an aircraft. It's a worldwide competition in which anyone can compete.

"There's a big awards ceremony in September with lots of different categories. John actually won the competition a couple of years ago."

Hugh is currently studying for his commercial licence and hopes to work in America when he has qualified.

In September, he flew solo around the UK just months after passing his pilot's exams and raised around £5,000 for ArriveAliveAppeal.

To make a donation, visit visit www.arrivealiveappeal.org

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