2016 was a great year for Flying Start, with our champions helping us to reach £14 million since the partnership with Comic Relief began in 2010. We celebrated in style at the BT Tower in London, joined by celebrities, several of our top customers and Director of Customer Experience, Troy Warfield. We couldn’t have reached this amazing milestone without all your help throughout the year, so thank you to all of those who got involved! Below are just a few of the events that our champions have supported in 2016!
Johannesburg May 2016
We’ve taken our most active champions on UK and international project visits to see exactly how the money you fundraise helps vulnerable children living incredibly tough lives around the world. This included 3 visits to South Africa, where champions witnessed projects including Waves for Change, which provides ‘surf therapy’ for children who have lived through traumatic experiences.
In April, champions from around the business were invited to the Ignite Trust in Harrow, which works to engage with disadvantaged teenagers in the local area through sport, encouraging teamwork. The work that the charity does helps to prevent these young people from getting involved with anti-social behaviour, youth violence and local gangs.
The 2nd of February saw the launch of our Sport Relief 2016 campaign, which began weeks of fundraising events and activities before the day itself. Our highlights include the Trolley Dash, where 8 crew members walked 10 miles across 13 iconic London bridges, raising over £3000 for Flying Start!
On the 13th of March, our Manchester colleagues ran the runway, and teams from Wales climbed Pen Y Fan (the tallest mountain in southern Britain), a more than 20 mile hike!
We celebrated Sports Relief on the 18th March with a range of events around T5 and T3, Waterside and the CRC with the help of a few famous faces! Events also took place at BAAE, BAMC and BAIE. In the evening we hosted a telethon, with staff from around the business volunteering their time to answer the phones and take donations from viewers watching the Comic Relief night of TV.
The Sports Relief Games on the 20th March took part at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and colleagues walked, ran, cycled and swam to raise over £2000 for Comic Relief.
We also launched the first Charity Choice, which saw 5 charities from around the UK compete for part of a £200k bursary. Valley Kids in Wales received the most votes and therefore the largest part of the bursary. 3000 colleagues from around the business showed their support for the five charities, which also included Newcastle-based D2 Youth Zone; F.A.R.E., based in Glasgow; London’s Metro and Factory Youth Zone in Manchester. All 5 charities benefitted from their portion of bursary, and invited British Airways colleagues to visit in November to see how they had invested the funds.
The British Airways Orchestra held their first event in aid of Flying Start, performing ‘Last Flight of the Proms’ in the Waterside Theatre in March.
We entered a team of 100 British Airways colleagues to take part in Tough Mudder, raising almost £16 000 for Flying Start.
September saw the Aberdeen and Glasgow Flying Start balls, raising the huge amounts of £28 000 and £42 000 respectively. Thank you to everyone involved who helped make the nights to successful and so enjoyable!
Flying Start hosted several successful Comedy Nights last year at the Heston Centre, with performers including Reginald D. Hunter and Americas Got Talents’ Paul Zerdin. Each night raises over £2000 for Flying Start, and is great fun for everyone involved! Look out for tickets to our 2017 Comedy Nights.
Buddy Bear and the Virtual Gift
2016 saw the launch of several new fundraising initiatives for Flying Start, which we hope to make bigger and better over the next few years. A new way for customers to donate to Flying Start on-board, the Virtual Gift, means that those without cash or spare change can use their cards to give to charity using IFR. We introduced Buddy Bear in October, following a Yammer competition to name him. At least £3.50 from each bear sold goes to Comic Relief, which makes a cuddly companion for both children and adults.
At the beginning of December we hosted our Christmas Fayre’s in the CRC at T5 and over at Waterside. Anita Rani joined us to showcase the new Flying Start on-board video, which she voices, and enjoy stallholders selling various treats, cakes, jewellery and gifts.
Throughout the month, we launched our Christmas appeal, asking colleagues from around the business to support local charities by donating gifts, clothing and books to provide them with an amazing Christmas. We were overwhelmed by the support we received from every single area, sending over 30 crates filled with presents to charities in Manchester, London, Newcastle, Cardiff and Scotland.
Our IFCE Christmas appeal was also amazing well received, with several trips needed to bring across all the donations from the CRC. We were joined by crew colleagues for a screening of Elf in the Waterside theatre, where we packed over 60 shoeboxes for South African children’s charity Goedgedacht, including a personalised message for each of the children. We were even joined by Alex, who chose a range of clothing items, toys, stationary and hygiene products for his box to send out.
As the year came to a close, we stepped up our game to host the ever-popular Flying Start Christmas Ball. The night, hosted by Gary Lineker and Anton Du Beke, was enjoyed by all, with guests partying until the early morning.
The following week saw the Masquerade Party, a thank you to our most active champions for all their hard work throughout the year and a chance to let their hair down with a dance and photos in an inflatable snow globe!
Throughout the year, countless champions took part in fundraising challenges from climbing Kilimanjro and trekking the Grand Canyon; hosting bake sales and curry nights; tackling marathons and fun runs – we are so impress
Thank you to all our champions for helping us reach £14 million in 2016 and for all your support throughout the year – we are looking forward to an even better 2017!
You can find out more about any of the activities Flying Start has been involved with last year by clicking on the related links embedded in this post.