A charity that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds literally reach new heights has had its headquarters and two aircraft destroyed in an arson attack.
The Lutton based Get High Volare is now appealing for help from local businesses after being targeted last weekend.
It was set up three years ago by pilot of 35 years Tim Wiltshire, the first female pilot to pass the RAF’s Fast Jet training Sally Dearman-Cummings and IT consultant Julian Snape and since 2017 has helped around 400 children experience the thrill of flying in its gliders and microlights.
After previously running it from their homes, Get High Volare (which means fly in Latin) received a special caravan to run operations from in 2019.
It’s been sited off Green Dyke in Lutton since then.
But at around 2.30am on Sunday the caravan and two of the charity’s gliders were set alight.
“It’s a real kick in the teeth,” said Tim who lives in Holbeach and was alerted about the fire through a middle of the night phone call. “It’s particularly difficult at this time where we’re not able to fly as much and every charity is feeling the pinch.
“It’s really sad that someone felt they could just do this and try and destroy a charity.
“We’re all volunteers here, no-one takes a wage from this and the kids don’t pay to fly.
“All our income comes from donations and we’ve fantastic support from pilots across the country who are very generous with their time.
“We’d love to hear from any businesses who might be able to help sponsor us or provide materials that might be able to help us such as timber and pallets.
“There may be someone out there who has a caravan that they don’t want which we could use as there’s nothing left of the old one.
“We’d just like to hear from anyone who can help us in any way they can.”
Get High Volare does still have two aircraft based elsewhere they can operate, including one named after and dedicated to the memory of Ella Kissi-Debrah whose death aged nine was recorded as the first in the UK to have died due to air pollution.
They also have been gifted microlight-type planes from pilots that need work to become flight worthy.
“I think we’re a charity that’s more well known nationally than locally, particularly within aviation circles,” continued Tim, who works in the construction industry.
“The charity started as we wanted to inspire others into flying.
“Particularly we work with youth organisations such as the scouts to provide the opportunity to fly, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
“We’ve so far helped around 400 people all round the country to fly.
“When we started we set a target of creating 5,000 new pilots in the first decade.
“With the COVID-19 situation and many of the groups we work with not being able to meet, we’ll probably struggle to make that now.
“But we aim to help young people’s development and get them into aviation, no matter what their background is.
“We want to expand it as time goes by and losing are caravan and two planes doesn’t help that.”
For more on the charity, including details of how to contact them, visit www.gethighvolare.org