12/10/11 – Sixteen year old Rhys Buckseall from Geddington near Kettering has had a very special visit to RAF College Cranwell, which is the Royal Air Force’s most prestigious training college, arranged by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
Rhys is suffering from a brain tumour and has had to undergo intensive treatment, including a course of radiotherapy, to fight the disease. During treatment, Rhys was referred to Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime wish and the brave youngster, who has always wanted to have a ride in a helicopter, asked to fly down the Thames.
A keen mathematician and scientist, Rhys is fascinated by architecture and engineering and, with Starlight’s help, he was able to see London’s most famous buildings from the air! In addition to the flight, Rhys, his parents Claire and Paul and his sister Bryony also enjoyed the London skyline from the world famous OXO Tower and a trip in speed boat down the Thames.
Soon after Rhys’ wish, Starlight was contacted by the Cadet Charities’ Committee of Initial Officer Training Course 24 at RAF College Cranwell with the offer of a very special day for one of Starlight’s wish children. As Rhys is such a flying enthusiast, he was the perfect candidate and the charity arranged with Officer Cadet Mark Baron, who has been leading the Charities Committee, for Rhys and his family to travel to the training base for a chance to experience a day in the life of a Royal Air Force cadet.
During the day, Rhys was able to participate in a graduation parade rehearsal, helping College Warrant Officer Paul Mears to inspect the cadets on duty in the parade square. Rhys also visited the fire section, where he was able to use the jets on board the fire vehicles and experiment with some of the other equipment, such as the thermal image camera and breathing apparatus.
Due to his condition, it was not possible for Rhys to fly in a Grob Tutor plane on the day but he has been invited back to RAF College Cranwell to experience this later. Instead, Rhys and his family finished the day off with an exciting flight in a simulator, before being presented with a beautiful framed picture of the College Hall Officers’ Mess by Group Capt Martin Killen, the Chief of Staff at RAF College Cranwell.
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.
Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that over 91p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.