Angels of the air

Angel Flight volunteer Alan Elliot is pictured with the plane which is nicknamed 'the ugly duckling'.

Angel Flight volunteer Alan Elliot is pictured with the plane which is nicknamed 'the ugly duckling'.

Alan Elliot has flown to the aid of many ill children and people in remote communities for years, with a smile and their gratitude his greatest reward.

The Faraday pilot is an Angel Flight volunteer and helps the charity to coordinate non-emergency flights for people trying to deal with health concerns, poor finances and long travel.

"It's a great way of giving something back and I have had so much pleasure from flying," Alan said.

His many years as a pharmacist has given him an insight to the world of those he supports through Angel Flight, all of whom he says are incredibly thankful for the charity.

"Sadly, the flights involve a lot of young sick children who have a chronic condition and would be very uncomfortable sitting in a car for a long period," he said.

"The pleasure for me is in the interest and gratitude from the family."

Alan became an Angel Flight volunteer after hearing about the charity through Kyneton Aero Club where he has been a member for about 30 years.

Fellow aero club member, Gisborne's John Gleeson, also supports the charity, mostly as a 'ground angel' assisting with transport in and around the city from the flight departure point.

"I've been pretty lucky with my kids and grandkids, and when you see what others are going through, you understand how important this is," John said.

"If you're having fun flying, you might as well get involved in something like this."

Angel Flight services are free for patients of all ages in country areas who are struggling to get to their city medical appointments. The charity also transports blood and blood products and medical drugs to country people requiring these items.

Angel Flight Australia is not an emergency service and participating pilots do not need to have any medical experience.

While cases are not as regular now as they once were, Alan and John said they would love to see more pilots sign up to the program.

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