BT volunteer flies high after winning BT award

Greenock girl wins award to boost her disabled flying charity

BT has rewarded a charity founded by one of its employees in Greenock with a grant of £700 to help them continue their good work.

The grant has been awarded through the company’s employee recognition scheme, the BT People Awards. The scheme recognises and rewards BT’s volunteering heroes, who offer their time and skills to help people in their local communities, by providing grants to organisations in which they are involved.

Freedom of Flight scooped £700 in the education category. The funds will be used to support the charity’s ambitious relay across the UK where disabled people will fly with an instructor across almost every county in the UK, 78 flights in total and 4,000 nautical miles.

BT security manager Pauline Gallagher set up Freedom of Flight following her own first solo flight in 2011. Pauline, who has had Cerebral Palsy since birth, has been flying with Aerobility at Prestwick.

She said: “Flying gave me lots of confidence and it was the realisation of a dream I’ve had since I was a toddler. Flying is a great equaliser, and a tool for inspiration. I wanted to give something back. I set up Freedom of Flight to give someone else that confidence that confidence and that dream come true.

“Fellow disabled people have gone on to set up their own businesses or start new careers from the confidence flying has given them. If you are in a wheelchair it’s very visible, but there’s no blue parking cards in the sky. When you’re out of the chair and in a plane you are the same as everyone else. If you can fly a plane, what else can you do? ”

In total, twelve groups in Scotland received grants worth nearly £7000 to help them continue their excellent work in the community. A full list is below.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Many of our employees contribute to the life of their communities, in a myriad of ways. The People Awards acknowledge the time and commitment that BT people across Scotland are giving to the local community groups for which they volunteer.”

UK wide, around 450 applications were received and 84 applicants received awards totalling £50,980. Applications were submitted by BT people from all over the world including Peru, India and Belgium. These included a wide range of community organisations from football clubs to police cadets to red squirrel protection, illustrating the wide variety of activities in which BT people are involved.

For more information and to see a complete list of the latest award recipients please visit:www.btpeopleawards.co.uk or see what BT can do to help charities by visiting:www.bt.com/charityportfolio.


The Scottish winners are:
• Oldmeldrum Sports & Highland Games, AB51 0ES £500
• Edinburgh South FC, Gilmerton Road, EH16 5UD £700
• Bonnyrigg Rose Boys Club, EH19 3AS £500
• Inverness Skating and Ice Dance Club (Sunday Club), IV9 8RQ £500
• 9th Ratho Cub Scout Group, EH288TT £500
• Balmedie Scout Group, AB23 8WB £700
• 44th Dundee Coy Boys Brigade, DD5 2HQ £500
• Balmedie Leisure Centre, AB23 8YF £700
• Cockenzie & Port Seton Amateur Radio Club, EH32 0EE £230
• St Andrew Michael's Club (SAMs), G32 6QE £700
• Freedom of Flight, PA16 8AL £700
• Kingdom of Fife Group Advanced Motorists, KY2 6JP £700