COVENTRY Airport’s real heroes fly-in, at this Sunday’s (26 September) crowd-pulling fundraising event for wounded servicemen and women, will be led by a former Royal Marine paralysed from the waist down.
Marine, Arthur Vaughan Williams, who is paraplegic after severing his spinal cord, will be at the controls of a PA28 Warrior, which will land on Coventry’s runway at 1pm.
He will be accompanied by serving Royal Marine, Dave Corcoran, who is recovering from extensive gunshot wounds received in the line of duty.
Following the fly-in, both will take part in a lap of honour at the airfield in recognition of wounded servicemen and women.
Williams said: “It is an honour to fly in to Coventry and represent military personnel serving us around the world and to see that the public are so supportive of us.”
Begins a spokesperson: “Williams saw active service on H.M.S. Albion, before a serious spinal injury ended his Marines’ career and he left honourably following final rehabilitation at military hospital, Headley Court.
“He is now training for a commercial pilot’s license, recently won gold at wheelchair racing in Birmingham’s half marathon and is on the Paralympic development squad 2012.”
Sir Peter Rigby, chair of Patriot Aerospace, owner of Coventry Airport, said: “I can think of a no more fitting or emotional highlight of the day than a real heroes fly-in dedicated to honouring the bravery of Britain’s wounded service personnel and those currently engaged in conflicts around the world.
“These young men and women give everything to defend our way of life, resulting in many having to overcome tremendous physical and emotional challenges if they are wounded in action, it is both inspiring and humbling.”
Mike Hammond, chief executive of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, for whom the event is raising funds through Help for Heroes, said: “Military patients from around the world are flown back to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where they start their rehabilitation journey.
“It is through the support of events such as the Coventry Airport Fly-in that we are able to fund new equipment and therapies that have never before been available in this country. Please attend the Fly-in and support our troops – every pound raised makes a difference.”
Some of the world’s most iconic aircraft will be plotting a course for the Fly-in this Sunday.
Crowds attending could be witnessing history as the iconic Vulcan bomber takes to the skies, landing at 11am for what may be its last ever public appearance.
It will be followed by the super-sonic Tornado and two 1950s era Venom jet fighters, which are set to take off at around noon. The ‘Heroes’ will fly in at 1pm.
With the opportunity to get close up and personal with pilots and crew, hangar based shopping and entertainment, thousands of families and aviation fans will be helping to raise funds to go towards improving the lives of wounded servicemen and women who are being treated at the Centre for Defence Medicine, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
The Fly-in is staged in partnership with the Armed Forces, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Coventry City Council, CV One, Loop, Classic Flight Club and Heliflight.
This great day out for families and aviation fans is by a donation of £20 per car or £5 per pedestrian.
For more information about the event please visit www.flyincoventryairport.com.
Advance tickets are now available to book online at www.visitcoventry.co.uk.
Transport and parking information
Travel Coventry will run a free bus service from Pool Meadow Bus Station in Coventry city centre every 30 minutes, starting at 9am until 12.30pm, entering through the North entrance (Baginton Village). The drivers, who are donating their time for free, will take passengers back from the airport between 2pm and 5pm.
Car parking is available on the south side of the airport and when this is full, motorists will be directed to Brandon Stadium, where the park and ride will cost £3 per adult and £2 per child, starting at 8am and running all day, entering the airport through the West entrance.
With the online box office now open, Coventry Airport is offering free on-site parking worth £16 for a family of four to those who pre-book their tickets.
Thrifty, which is based at Coventry Airport, is supplying five minibuses and two Freelanders to transport people from the on-site car-parks to the airfield.
Further parking and travel information, including details about disabled parking, visit http://www.visitcoventryandwarwickshire.co.uk
The heroes fly-in has been organised with the support of Aerobility [formerly known as British Disabled Flying Association]. Its chief executive, Mike Miller Smith, said: “When we heard about Coventry Airport’s Fly in, we made the decision to throw all our resources at supporting it.
“Aerobility is teaching a number of injured servicemen how to fly as they look to rebuild their careers as commercial pilots and we have trained Marine Arthur Vaughan Williams.”
Aerobility is run by disabled people for disabled people. Visit www.aerobility.com
For more information contact
Fly-in / interview with Marine, Arthur Vaughan Williams
Adam Dent: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel 024 7663 3636
Louise Acton: email@example.com / Tel 07595 355 938
Beatrice Mocci: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel 0141 339 4175
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Contact: Beatrice Mocci