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Gloucestershire Business News

Astronaut hopefuls 'Aim High' for aviation charity

The stars of the BBC Astronauts, Do You Have What it Takes? TV series will reunite in Gloucestershire next week and take to the skies in a somewhat unorthodox fashion.

Senior teaching fellow at Imperial College London, Dr Jackie Bell, is an ambassador for Gloucestershire-based charity fly2help and will be joined by fellow programme contestants, pilots Tess Naran and Kerry Bennett as they strap themselves to the top of a vintage Stearman biplane at Rendcomb Airfield near Cirencester.

They'll also be joined by former Red Arrows pilot Kirsty Murphy MBE and a dozen more thrill seekers, who are hoping to raise thousands for the charity.

Fly2help is a charity dedicated to changing lives using the power and wonder of flight. Its 'Air Smiles' days provide respite for families going through difficult life experiences, giving them a chance to take to the skies in a light aircraft and make incredible memories together.

Their 'Aim High' careers programme showcases all the aviation and aerospace opportunities available to young people considering their future career choices through a variety of different programmes and opportunities.

Fly2Help Aim High programme manager Kim Lewington MBE said: "The pandemic curtailed much of our flying activity and has hit our finances hard, but we're grateful to our loyal supporters who are hoping to kickstart our fundraising with their bravery. Social distancing isn't an issue when you're outside the aeroplane!"

She added: "We've been able to deliver some of our Aim High activities online and while Covid has had a huge impact on the aviation industry, new and exciting avenues have appeared as sustainability, electric flight and space technologies come to the fore.

"We still need to inspire the next generation of youngsters to 'aim high' and the money our supporters raise will help facilitate that.

The wing walking will take place, subject to weather, at Rendcomb Airfield on Monday 12th July. Due to Covid restrictions, there's no public access to the airfield.

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