A TEENAGER who started his own flying charity has finally got his plans off the ground.
James Moon became one of the UK’s youngest pilots at the age of 17 after his ambition to fly a plane helped him to recover from serious spinal injuries.
The former Dame Allan’s pupil, who broke his back while playing football, was treated by spinal specialists and endured months of physiotherapy after the accident in 2009. But the determined teenager, now aged 18, gained his private pilot licence on his first attempt last year.
James, from Ponteland, used his experiences to found a charity called Little Wings to give others the opportunity to fly in a plane.
Earlier this year, he revealed his plans to help ill and disabled youngsters and those who would benefit from flying by taking them on journeys through the North East skies with Little Wings.
And yesterday marked the first official Little Wings flight.
The first person James took on a whirlwind tour of the North East was army veteran John McConville, from Fenham, Newcastle. John, who suffers from vision problems after a car accident in Cyprus, was thrilled with the experience.
“I thought the flight was very exciting,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone.” Soaring above the clouds in a Eurostar EV97 plane, the hour-long flight took off from Eshott Airfield, near Morpeth, and travelled over sights including Alnwick, Amble and Coquet Island.
James, who lives with parents David and Judy in Darras Hall, said: “The first flight was quite emotional.
“I met John through the charity Brainbox and was really pleased to take him on the flight. He seemed a little bit nervous at first, but he really enjoyed it.
“Now the charity is a reality, it’s amazing. It was just an idea and now we’re taking people on flights.
“Because I’ve been injured myself, I understand the freedom that flying can bring and it’s good to be able to share that.”
Little Wings is hoping to make its second charity flight next week with a 12-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer. Now James is looking for businesses that would like to get involved with his charity through sponsorship opportunities.
He also wants other charities to get in touch to nominate people they think would benefit from a flight, as well as families of poorly youngsters.
“I’m grateful for all of the support I’ve had so far,” he said.
“Little Wings will hopefully grow from here and I hope to help as many people as possible.”
For more information on the charity or to get in touch with James to become a sponsor, visit www.little-wings.org