Aircraft festival set to take off

Lincolnshire Light Aircraft Festival is to get off the ground in Heckington from Friday.
Lincolnshire Light Aircraft Festival is to get off the ground in Heckington from Friday.

A four-day light aircraft festival is set to take place in Heckington in aid of a little girl with a rare life-limiting condition.

The first Lincolnshire Light Aircraft Festival will get off the ground from 1pm this Friday.

Lincolnshire Light Aircraft Festival's Brad Olson and his son Finley, six, in a paramotor.

Lincolnshire Light Aircraft Festival's Brad Olson and his son Finley, six, in a paramotor.

It will feature 12 live bands, 150 paramotor pilots, camping, archery, fairground games, Star Wars characters, stalls, food and more. There will also be the opportunity for visitors to take to the skies with tandem flights on paramotors (powered paragliders).

The festival is the brainchild of local builder and extreme sports enthusiast Brad Olson - who is co-organising the event with his partner Rachel Horn, and fellow paramotor pilots Dan Couzens and Mike O’Hara.

The father-of-six is holding the event in aid of two-year-old Olivia Butler from Woodhall Spa. Olivia suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Ohtahara Syndrome which sees her suffer with up to 200 fits a day.

One of just four cases worldwide, she is the only one in Europe with the condition - and is not expected to live beyond the age of four.

Brad Olson pictured with little Olivia Butler.

Brad Olson pictured with little Olivia Butler.

Mr Olson said: “We are hoping to raise at least £1,000 so we can buy a trip away for the family. Depending on how much we get, we would love to be able to send them somewhere like Center Parcs.”

The 47-year-old has a son with mild cerebral palsy and deafness who was born three months premature and nearly died. He said that the months spent in hospital with his son, - meeting terminally-ill children on the ward - made him want to help other families in similar situations.

“I would meet children one day who would sit and chat to me - only to be told the next day that they had died. This happened three or four times and I can’t describe how messed up it left me. After this, I vowed to do something to help families of children with life-limiting conditions. What they go through is not something most people see.”

He met the family of Olivia through Facebook and decided to combine his love of extreme sports with his compassion for seriously-ill children and do his bit to help.

“I’m really hoping a trip away for the family will give them some great memories to cherish,” he added.

Olivia’s dad Gary Butler said: “I want to thank everyone who has shown us support - and to Brad and the team for everything they have done.”

The festival will be held at Star Fen, Heckington, from this Friday to 5pm on Monday.

l Tickets are £5 for a standard day pass (no flying); £10 a day for pilots (no camping), £15 per person for three days of camping at the festival (no flying); and £20 per pilot for flying and camping at the festival. Children under 16 go free.

Call Brad on 07584033593.