This Red Nose Day, British Airways is proud to have raised an incredible £27.3 million for Flying Start, through the airline’s global charity partnership with Comic Relief. The money has been raised over the past 13 years, since the partnership’s launch in 2010.
To celebrate this ‘oarsome’ milestone, British Airways teamed up with Comic Relief celebrity supporters Alison Hammond, Rylan and Sir Steve Redgrave to find out if one of its aircraft could beat the GB Rowing team in a race next to London City Airport.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave brought together medal-winning members of the GB Rowing Team to take on the challenge. The World Champions and Olympians in the mixed eight boat comprised a cox, four female and four male rowers, who took on a British Airways Cityflyer Embraer 190 Aircraft.
Ahead of the race, Alison Hammond gave words of wisdom to the rowing team, showing them some of her own special warm up tips. At the same time, Rylan prepped the airline’s crew, before both celebs took to the water to cheer everyone to the finish line.
The race took place at London City Airport, next to the Royal Albert Docks with the runway running parallel to the water where many Olympic and World Champion rowers train.
A video of the special challenge can be viewed on BA’s website and customers will also be able to watch it on British Airways’ inflight-entertainment system later this year.
Sir Steve Redgrave, an honorary trustee of Comic Relief and five-time Olympic gold medal rowing champion, said: “As a trustee for Comic Relief, it’s so fantastic to combine my passion for rowing with a cause so close to my heart. I trained at these docks for many years, so I know them well, but seeing a challenge like this was certainly a first for me. It was a lot of fun and a privilege to be a part of – I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to help raise awareness for British Airways’ Flying Start charity partnership, that has helped millions of individuals worldwide with its fundraising.”
Mary Brew, British Airways Community Investment Manager said: “We’re so proud to have reached the 13th year of our long-standing partnership with Comic Relief. It’s the generous donations of our customers and the fundraising efforts of our colleagues that has helped us reach another milestone this Red Nose Day.”
Across the business, British Airways’ colleagues also supported fundraising efforts for Red Nose Day this year, with 56 of its cabin crew taking part in the airline’s eighth trolley dash, pushing aircraft trollies more than 15km around the capital. This year’s trolley dash raised more than £12,000 for Flying Start through donations from spectators and online sponsors.
Funds raised through the Flying Start partnership support projects both in the UK and around the world in destinations that British Airways flies to. Examples include Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland which provides tailored support to families with children affected by spina bifida and /or hydrocephalus, and Butterflies in New Delhi, which works with children living or working on the streets to give them life skills to prosper. Butterflies has supported an estimated 2,250 children in New Delhi over the last two years.
Customers can donate to Flying Start by visiting here.