Young Carers Flight Opportunity

On a clear winter’s day in June 2018, Auckland skies were warmed with the beaming smiles of fifteen young people who care for a family member. Carers NZ brought together these young carers for a flight with seasoned pilot Phil Pacey. They lifted off from Ardmore Airport in Papakura in his Cessna 206, and were flown over the wider Auckland region. The memorable trip included a bird’s eye view of spots such as One Tree Hill, Sky City, Waiheke, and Rangitoto.

It was part of a worldwide event, organised by the Rotary E Club of Aviation (the ‘E’ stands for Electronic), and they’re hoping to make it an annual occasion, to be able to offer the chance to as many young carers as they can.

Phil says he donated his time, aircraft and expertise to show his support for young carers of elderly, ill, or disabled loved ones.

“I like to see smiles on young people’s faces, to give these deserving kids a break,” says Phil. He has been part of Rotary since 1983. With members spread throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, and New Zealand, they have regular online meet-ups, but coordinating their charity work can be a challenge. So they hatched a plan to get up to 100 deserving young people in the air, on the same day worldwide.

It’s the first time for this particular opportunity, but not the first time that Phil has volunteered his experience and skills to a good cause. Previously he was part of Angel Flight New Zealand, a charity which flies patients from remote regions to faraway hospitals for non-urgent medical appointments.

As for the young carers, the feedback was enthusiastic.

‘Thank you so much for organising the flights on Sunday. Quinn had such an amazing time, he hasn’t stopped smiling!’

From the Grow A Heart For Jeannette Facebook page: ‘I can’t thank you enough… it’s nearly 2 years that I heavily depend on my family for everything. My siblings give me something to smile about, to laugh with, to have companion with, to cry with, to be hug, to be love, to learn from and many more. To all the sponsors especially Rotary E-Club International who make this event possible thank you from the bottom of my heart. A special thank you to pilot Phil for the awesome time in the air with my siblings and there demands.’

‘Thank you Phil for this amazing opportunity. Jordyn Wallace thoroughly enjoyed her experience’