17 December 2012
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, today gave a group of children from the Young Oncology Unit of the Christie NHS Trust accompanied by their families an early Christmas treat with a festive flight accompanied by popular comedian Jason Manford and Olympic gold medal winner Etienne Stott both of whom hail from Manchester.
The excited group was entertained by local magician, Derrick Beckford before boarding Flybe’s Embraer 175 jet BE8888 plane for a 40-minute flight around Manchester and the local environs during which time the aircraft met up with Santa who came on board to hand out gifts to each child.
Etienne Stott and Jason Manford chatted to the children and their families and posed for photographs. Etienne also presented each child with their very own ‘Flybe Santa flight’ gold medal as a keepsake of the memorable trip.
Flybe’s Director of Marketing, Simon Lilley said: “We would like to thank everyone who has pulled together so magnificently to support and make this flight possible for this very deserving group of brave young people. Supporting the local communities in which we operate is a key priority for Flybe and every year we really enjoy the privilege of sharing some Christmas cheer with such special people - we hope they had as much fun as we did.”
Jason Manford commented: “I’m used to performing for hundreds of people but today felt particularly special, seeing so many children smile and hearing their laughter. There were some real jokers on the flight who certainly kept me on my toes!”
Added Etienne Stott: “The flight was an excellent pre Christmas treat and I enjoyed sharing my Olympic memories with the children. It was particularly rewarding to be able to provide them all with their very own gold medals, as they have all shown so much bravery and courage.”
Penelope Hart-Spencer from the Christie NHS Foundation Trust's Young Oncology Centre said: “These children have to endure prolonged and harsh treatment, which disrupts the whole of their family life. To be able to give them a treat like this flight is fantastic and helps not just the children and families, but also the staff caring for them, by giving them something positive to focus on."Flybe’s 2012 Santa Flight from Manchester reflects similar flights the airline has undertaken in previous years for children from Inverness, Jersey, Southampton and Exeter.