Scilly Firefighters Planning ‘Ultra-Marathon’ For Disabled Traveller

St Mary's Airport

St Mary’s Airport

Two St Mary’s airport firefighters are training for a 44-mile ‘ultra-marathon’ to pay for a severely disabled local woman’s charter flight back to Scilly for family holidays.

Dave Mumford and Billy Jackman were touched by the plight of Judy Purkiss, who contracted measles as a child and now suffers from major mobility problems. She was able to use scheduled helicopter services but she needs a stretcher on Skybus flights.

Skybus says Civil Aviation Authority rules mean passengers must be able to board the aircraft unassisted and self-evacuate for their own safety.

Passengers of greatly reduced mobility must be carried by stretcher, which is why they acquired one, part-funded by a LAG grant, in 2012. But it takes up most of the space in an Islander aircraft, so the company charge a charter fare.

Last Christmas, as a gesture of goodwill, they offered Judy a significantly reduced one-off fare. The family say they appreciate Skybus’ help and accept that they have to follow air travel regulations.

On June 8th, the men will run from The Lizard to Land’s End to raise money to fund Judy’s future trips. Both men have rowed in gigs competitively but say this run provides their biggest physical challenge to date.

Dave says they are taking their training seriously, running four times a week and concentrating longer runs around non-flying days.

Billy says the training can get a bit boring but when they think why they are doing it they find the motivation to keep going. He says they just want to do what they can to help Judith.

If you want to support the men, cheques can be made payable to ‘Judy Purkiss Transport Fund’ and paid into Barclays Bank in Hugh Town.