Group Special Days take off

In April 2012, Willow’s newest service took off with the launch of group Special Day experiences. As the first of a programme of positive and uplifting shared experiences for young adults with serious and life-changing illness, Willow was thrilled to be able to offer an exclusive flying experience with the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

I have formed new bonds and friendships. My group experience was something that I will always remember.

Lydia, 18, living with a brain tumour

The group Special Day service builds on the success of the charity’s individual Special Days to offer additional benefits. As well as enjoying a memorable experience providing a break from the difficult realities of serious and life-threatening illness, beneficiaries and their families on our group Special Days will also have the chance to spend time with others in similar circumstances and to re-engage with their peers to rebuild self-confidence and a sense of normality.

Life President Bob Wilson and Wing Commander Sandilands welcomed the nine beneficiaries and their friends and families to the day, after which they were given an exclusive group tour of the historic base. Following a flight briefing (flight suits included!) all got the chance to take to the skies, take control of an aircraft and even try out some aerobatics.  For those who didn’t want to be up in the sky, they experienced flying with their feet firmly on the ground in a flight simulator.

The flying and aerobatics was followed by a special dinner at York House Officers’ Mess with guest speaker, former RAF pilot, John Peters, who was shot down and taken prisoner in the Gulf War.