Flybe, Europe's largest independent regional airline, today gave a group of children from Jersey Hospital's Robin Ward an early Christmas treat with a festive flight accompanied by eight stars of Jersey Rugby Football Club including team captain Alex Rae and Club Chairman Bill Dempsey, and a very special festive VIP guest who arrived mid-flight.
Joined by members of their families, the delighted group of 28 children - some of whom are supported by the CLIC Sargent (Jersey)- were entertained before take-off by a local children's entertainer. The passengers then boarded Flybe's Embraer 175 jet BE8888 for a 45-minute flight around Jersey and the local area, during which time Santa handed out gifts to each child.
Director of PR for Flybe, Niall Duffy said: "We would like to thank everyone who has made it possible for us to create this unique experience for these inspiring young people. Giving something back to the local communities in which we operate is a priority for Flybe and every year it is always a special pleasure to provide such deserving children with a special festive flight."
Flybe has for some years sponsored flights for Jersey Rugby Football team when travelling to away games and Mr Dempsey added: "What a heart-warming experience to be part of! It was great to see these children and their families experience something so special. Their bravery and resilience is truly remarkable and is an inspiration to all of us in the rugby club."
Commenting further, Robin Ward's Paediatric Oncology nurse Therese McGrath said: "We would like to thank Flybe for doing this wonderful thing for this really great bunch of very deserving children. They are all so brave and resilient and we are so proud of them all. The families are very grateful and we have all been so excited about this special Santa flight."
Flybe's 2013 Santa Flight from Jersey is the airline's latest annual Santa flight with previous year's flights operating from Manchester, Inverness, Southampton and Exeter.