The good mood in the Virgin Balloon Flights camp has been inflated (couldn’t resist) with the amazing community spirit and volunteer work being done by our wonderful team during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With our beautiful big red balloons grounded as a result of vital social distancing, we caught up with pilot Dave ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe and his crew chief Neil Marshall about how they have been helping the NHS and their local communities.
Known to many as ‘Team Yorkshire’ on our social media channels, both have thrown themselves into helping any way they can during the coronavirus pandemic.
And we are just super proud of them both!
Grounded Chief Crew Neil Marshall doing..... Anything and Everything!
Neil and his wife Louise have been a credit to their community during these tough times, having spent their days delivering everything from patient prescriptions to delicious meals to those self-isolating around his home village.
Already a volunteer for Ryedale Community Transport, Neil was already driving the elderly and vulnerable to care homes and hospital appointments, so he is no stranger to helping out.
And once lockdown began, Louise, a matron at a local boys school, also joined as a volunteer for this worthy project.
They have been collecting freshly prepared meals from a local hotel and delivering them locally to those in need, and transporting prescriptions.
The doorstop delivery doesn’t stop there, as this wonderful pair have even taken to safely shopping for those ‘at risk’ in the area too.
Neil said: “The hardest part of lockdown has been not seeing the kids and our two wonderful grandsons.
“Volunteering has been very rewarding because it’s really nice to do good things for other people in such difficult times”
A Super Pilot PPE Production Line
Pilot Dave would usually be up in the skies piloting our iconic Virgin balloon over York, Harrogate and Leeds right now.
But when the coronavirus grounded him and all our other pilots, the entire family put their sewing skills to excellent use and started making PPE scrubs for the local hospital, after daughter Abi saw a call out that they were running short.
Making use of an outbuilding at their home, Dave, his wife Anthea, Abi and son Arthur have been working around the clock to support their local NHS as members of the “Harrogate Scrubbers”
Their volunteering work has provided hospital scrub gowns, caps and even face guards and have been a key part of Harrogate’s huge community effort to keep the NHS heroes of Yorkshire safe.
In a time of such uncertainty for everyone, it really does make our day to hear positive news from our staff, pilots and crew.
We are so very proud of all them. A grounded team doesn’t usually make for a happy team, yet these guys are really showing what they are made of.
Keep up the good work, Team Yorkshire!