Blue Islands announce first recipients of the #mybi Flight Fund

In January this year, Blue Islands launched the #mybi Flight Fund. Over 20 applications, consisting of Channel Island residents, groups and charities applied for free flights, with hopes of achieving their off-Island ambitions.

Blue Islands is delighted to announce the first beneficiaries of the fund who will collectively receive over £10,000 worth of flights.

Rob Veron, CEO Blue Islands said, “there was an overwhelming response from a diverse range of individuals and organisations in Guernsey and Jersey. Applications included teams and individuals from a wide range of sports including surfing, football, archery, netball as well as a music, art and youth development. It was wonderful to read the passion in each application and difficult to choose the first phase of flight recipients.”

Recipients include Lily Jones (15), from Jersey. Lily plays netball for Team Jets but trains in UK with Seven Stars. The fund will enable her to train off-island, giving her national experience to bring back to the Jet’s court.

Another beneficiary, Brett Smeed, from Guernsey, applied via Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and has already taken his flight which allowed him to participate in dressage competitions in the UK. Brett, 28, who has been blind since he was 15, said: “Thanks to the #mybi Flight Fund, I got the opportunity to compete in the RDA South Region Qualifier show and have qualified for the National Championships, which is something I never imagined in a million years I would ever do. This has opened many doors that I intend to walk through to see where it takes me. I am at the beginning of an equine journey that I am excited about. I am very grateful to Blue Islands for providing me with this chance.”

Mr Veron continued, “the number and variety of applications for the #mybi Flight Fund highlights the dedication, commitment and talent there is in the Channel Islands. Whether pursuing achievements in sport, music, art or personal development, we’re delighted to be able to help provide opportunities that will have a positive impact on Channel Islanders’ lives.”

Blue Islands looks forward to sharing the individual stories and achievements of everyone who has benefited from the #mybi Flight Fund.

Flight Fund Case Study – Bretton Smeed and Riding for the Disabled

Bretton (Brett) Smeed,28, has been blind since he was 15. He began riding with Riding for the Disabled just over a year ago. An interest in horses runs in Brett’s family; Brett’s great grandfather used to own and train racehorses and his ultimate goal is to gallop a horse at Newmarket. This past month, Brett flew to the Southampton to participate in the South Region Qualifier, with the help of the #mybi Flight Fund.

Riding for the Disabled Guernsey is a local charity run entirely by volunteers who help anyone with a disability to horse ride or spend time with horses or donkeys. They don’t receive any States funding and rely entirely on donations and fundraising initiatives.

Heidi Ephgrave, Group Coach and Chairperson for Riding for the Disabled Guernsey said, “I am absolutely delighted with Brett’s achievements. It is all thanks to Blue Islands for awarding these flights, without their support it’s unlikely we would have gone. Brett had a fantastic day, winning one dressage class, placing second in another and another win in the Countryside Challenge. Brett has subsequently qualified in all three events. I hope this will encourage more people who live with a disability to take part in their chosen sport.”  

Flights were also awarded to the following entrants:

  • St John Ambulance volunteers, aged 7-17, to travel to a training course;
  • Youth Commission for Guernsey and Alderney
  • Harbour Gallery in Jersey to enable art students to prepare for art college;
  • Tom Hook a surfer from Guernsey to train and compete in the UK and Jersey;
  • Filip Nowacki, currently in the Jersey Triathlon Team, to take part in junior triathlons;
  • Guernsey band, Track Not Found, to enable them to play in a UK festival;
  • Lucy O’Sullivan, to participate in off-Island archery competitions.