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Our champions

Since June 2010, British Airways’ Flying Start programme has worked in partnership with Comic Relief to help give disadvantaged young people in the communities we fly to the chance to have a brighter future. So far, thanks to the incredible efforts of our colleagues and customers, we have raised over £25 million and counting. With your support as a Flying Start Champion we can do even more amazing things together


On the ground

For non-flying colleagues

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In the air

For cabin crew and flight crew.

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BA Dreamliner

This year so far our crew have raised...


Another great amount to raise on-board

Featured Crew Champions

Featured champion

james needes

James Needes

Mixed Fleet Crew

James has been a fantastic champion for the Flying Start team by collecting donations on-board and volunteering at events in his spare time throughout Sport Relief and beyond. He also raised over £200 in a sponsored skydive and is always coming up with new ideas to raise money. Thank you James!

Featured champion

Ketch Wannan

Mixed Fleet

“When the opportunity to join the Flying Start Team came up last year, I couldn’t help but jump on board. The perfect present for anyone at Christmas is a chance for change, an opportunity.

For Christmas, I jumped in head first and set my sights on 3 projects, selling 500 Christmas Raffle tickets to crew at Heathrow.

I also spent a few hours on my day off helping box and wrap shoe boxes full of donated goods to send to orphanages in Cape Town. It was a fantastic afternoon and really showed how the Champions can achieve anything they set out to do.

I volunteered a few hours of both mine and my partner’s time the morning before my Christmas trip to Chicago to help the smooth running of the grotto at Waterside.

The 3 projects highlighted the importance of Flying Start but also showed that no-one is ever alone as a Champion. I couldn’t possibly have achieved anything with these 3 projects without the support of other Champions, the Flying Start Team at Waterside and all of our colleagues across the company, from the interns, to Cabin Crew to TRMs, everyone plays a part, even if they don’t realise or appreciate the significant of their £1 or 30 seconds doing the Flying Start PA’s on-board. They all help do so much for so many.”

BA Dreamliner

In 2020 so far, our ground staff have raised...


Featured Ground Champions

Featured champion

Amerjit Basra

Cabin Operations Manager

Amerjit Basra as part of team TLC, Team Lamb Chops, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the worlds largest freestanding mountain.  The climb took seven days all the way to the highest peak in Africa, and despite the horrendous weather conditions and awful symptoms of altitude sickness, they all reached the summit on Wednesday 25th Jan’17, and has raised over £11,000 and still going!
Last year TLC completed the Three Peaks Challenge, and in 2015 Windsor to London bike ride, in total raising £10K from both of these two events, split £5K to Flying Start.
Team TLC continues to support Flying Start because we believe that no child should be denied basic resources and education, which a lot of us take for granted.

Past champion

Paul Cissell LEJOG 2016

Paul Cissell

Flight Operations Engineer

“We are very proud of Paul completing such a difficult sporting challenge and delighted he raised over £3,000 for Flying Start” Paul’s Manager

Find out more about Paul’s challenge on our posts page.

Paul Cissell – LEJOG

Past champion

Chai For Change- Pinder Nagle

Resource Delivery Team Manager

The team of volunteers are dedicated and passionate supporting Sohail and I for our Chai Tea 4 Change annual Event which was held on the 13th July and this being our second year running.

Last year we raised a total of £4600 and this year we raised £2123 and will continue raising July every year.
Chai Tea 4 Change involves baked goods from our colleagues and have volunteers selling raffle tickets with fabulous prizes plus the sales of food and Chai tea on the day.

Past champion

Grand Canyon Challenge - Brian Pinchbeck

Manager T5 Ramp Handling & Turnaround Ops

Brian has supported Flying Start for many years, usually thinking of new challenges for him and his team, with each event becoming more adventurous or challenging.

In October this year  Brian and Fiona O’Shea convinced a group of colleagues their colleagues from Combined Operations to take part in a Grand Canyon challenge. The group was led by lead Ops champion Brian Pinchbeck, Fiona O’Shea and included Bill Kelly, Bhavin Lachani, Joanna Kershaw, Sean Connolly, Sandra Gibson, Lorna Elliot, Faye Reynolds, Robert Frank, David Mohammed, Steve Shand, Myriam Boussaid and Lucy Berryman.

The group trekked a challenging 6 mile round route, climbing a whopping 4,120 feet and taking in amazing view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

They set themselves the ambitious target of £12 000 but have already hit almost £23,00!!

Congratulations to all who took part and thank you from the Flying Start team.

Sign up to be a champion

Flying Start is for all British Airways colleagues, whether you are in the air or on the ground. To get involved and start raising money for children all around the world, simply enter your details below.

Sign up to be a champion