British Airways hosted a star-studded ‘Milestone in the Sky’ event at the Gherkin this evening (Thursday 5 December), hosted by presenter Davina McCall, to celebrate raising over £6 million for Comic Relief through its Flying Start partnership.
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins performed a string of hits to guests, which included celebrity supporters; Bill Nighy, Lenny Henry, Shane Richie, Vernon Kay, Linford Christie, Jon Culshaw, Richard Curtis and Emma Freud. The event was also attended by British Airways customers and Comic Relief project workers the airline wanted to thank
Katherine Jenkins performs at British Airways Milestone In the Sky event (C) Miles Willis, Getty
Brtish Airways launched Flying Start with Comic Relief in 2010 to raise money to help children living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world.
Presenter Davina McCall filmed an exclusive video for British Airways colleagues to thank them for their fundraising efforts. She said: “Congratulations to everyone at British Airways – from colleagues to customers, for raising an amazing £6 million for Comic Relief, through your Flying Start partnership!” The video can be viewed at youtube.com/flybritishairways
The evening reception saw Katherine Jenkins dazzle in a yellow Suzanne Neville gown, as she performed hits including Jeff Buckley’s ‘Halleluiah’ and ‘Habanera’ from the opera Carmen by Bizet. She said: “It’s an honour to perform at such an elegant setting, made even more special by the incredible fundraisers, project workers and supporters in the room tonight.”
The £6 million that British Airways has raised since it started three years ago has helped Comic Relief fund projects in the UK and around the world. Just a few of the grants awarded by Comic Relief are:
·£200,000 awarded to Body and Soul to work with children, teenagers and families affected by HIV in London, providing support and information to enable people to face the challenges of HIV.
·£3 million given to VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) working with the Ghana Education Service to work with communities in Northern Ghana to strive for good quality education
British Airways’ chief executive, Keith Williams, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our fundraising for Comic Relief, and I would like to thank the generosity of our customers, and dedicated fundraisers at British Airways for raising £6 million for Flying Start to date. I’ve visited projects to see first hand the positive change Comic Relief makes to children leading unimaginably difficult lives and these visits are some of the most humbling experiences I’ve had.”
Funds have been raised through on board collections, online donations (ba.com/flyingstart) and the option to give when purchasing flights and holidays at ba.com. The airline’s colleagues have also played an integral role, with fun runs and tug of wars, to cake baking contests and charity balls among the many creative and collaborative activities.
In the spirit of ‘doing something funny for money’ British Airways has even set Guinness World Records for Red Nose Day over the years, including the ‘Highest Concert’, ‘Highest Comedy Gig’ and ‘Highest Harlem Shake’.
Celebrities including Bill Nighy, Nick Frost and Sarah Harding have all done their bit to help fundraising efforts. They have joined British Airways teams on project visits to see first-hand how the money raised helps transform lives, and have made films to inspire passengers to donate.
Through Comic Relief, Flying Start has been able to support tens of thousands of children, in projects across the world, some of these include; The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Cape Town, the Railway Children charity in India, Magic Bus in Delhi, Fight for Peace in Rio de Janiero, The Pendekezo Letu in Kenya, Project Y.E.S.S in London, the Bolton Lads and Girls club, D2 Youth Zone’s in Newcastle and North United Communities project in Scotland.
For more information on Flying Start, or to donate, please visit; http://www.onedestination.co.uk/community/community-investment/flying-start/