Students soar to new heights

Students gliding at Southdowns Gliding Club at Cootham
Students gliding at Southdowns Gliding Club at Cootham

Lucky pupils from two Surrey schools had the chance to soar through the air after winning a competition to go gliding at Southdown Gliding Club in Cootham.

Five pupils from King Edward’s School, Witley and a pupil from Reed’s School in Cobham took part in a gliding day, organised jointly by the Air Power Association (APA) and Buttle UK, the largest grant-giving charity in the UK directly

supporting children, young people and families.

All competition entrants are supported by Buttle UK through its School Fees Programme, which funds places for children within UK boarding or independent day schools and offers a potentially life changing experience. Funding for the gliding day was provided by the APA, an organisation for air power advocates.

To be in with a chance of winning, pupils entered an essay competition, answering the question ‘I’d love to go gliding because’. One of those who entered the competition was Ed aged 15, a pupil at King Edward’s, who wrote: “I would love to go gliding because this would be a great opportunity for me, as one of my possible career choices is in aviation or to join the RAF.

“Personally I was taught if good things appear in my life, I should take every opportunity that comes, otherwise they may not come back again. Just as when I had the chance to come to King Edward’s, it was an opportunity of a life time for me and I must say I am enjoying myself very much and doing very well in my studies.”

On the day pupils were given the opportunity to glide, beginning with an aero tow launch in which the two person glider was attached by a tow rope to a powered aeroplane and towed up to a height of 2,500ft. After the rope was released, pupils were given a chance at handling the glider and were introduced to the art of soaring in which they attempted to gain lift from thermals, pockets of rising warm air, or wind being blown upward off ridges on the ground.

Gerri McAndrew, Chief Executive of Buttle UK, says: “Buttle UK aims to open up new opportunities for the children it supports and I would like to thank the APA for supporting the day. The children had a great day out and it will be one they remember for a lifetime.”