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Reaching for the sky

Youngsters in Goole are learning new skills and taking their confidence to a whole new level, thanks to a unique ‘build a plane’ charity that even offers them the opportunity to learn to fly.

The Spirit of Goole (TSOG) is run solely by volunteers and totally reliant on donations, and the charity are seeking help in their bid to raise £20,000 to finish building and running their own, fully operational Sherwood Ranger bi-plane. A whole host of engineers, pilots and volunteers work hard to inspire, encourage and motivate students from Goole Academy, who in turn gain experience in everything from design, construction and engineering through to IT, media and marketing. Each one of them also gets the chance to gain their pilots licence and go on to fly the plane, which will remain in Goole once completed and be used to provide flying lessons to students.

The charity’s moto is: ‘Aim high, think big, achieve something amazing’ – and they have certainly lived up to that ethos. They have inspired their budding aviators to reach dizzy heights in the last two years, with the like of past students Katie Dennis, a former Goole High pupil having gone on to be a mechanic with the Royal Air Force and Tom Lloyd (18) is now an apprentice for an engineering company. The charity launched in 2012, with the ‘build’ beginning in September 2013. Since then over 50 local youngsters have worked on the aircraft and the maiden flight is fast approaching.

Jack Milnes, Chairman and Project Manager of TSOG told Our Goole: “We have just finished covering the plane, and will be conducting engine testing in April. If all the paperwork goes to plan we will be ready to test fly in late May – the finish is very close.”

The original funding target for the year was £20,000 and TSOG still need to raise £16,000 to complete the build and cover insurance and initial operational costs for the aircraft. Since the early days TSOG has received incredible support from local individuals and companies – Goole Business Group, Carlisle DIY, Airmyn Garage, Goole & District Lottery, Drax, McDonners, BAE Systems and the Barnes Wallis Foundation to name but a few.

Not only are they working hard on the plane project and running their Air Academy, the charity have recently received a donation of a different kind – a 40ft steel hulled sailing yacht! This means planning is now underway for a new Goole project – ‘Build a boat’, and TSOG team are in the early stages of setting up a partnership with the Sobriety Project and Goole’s Waterways Museum to enable that.

These motivational ventures are a fantastic opportunity for personal development and for Goole’s youngsters to see where their talents lie, and support them in future career decisions. Donations help to give these young people the chance to achieve something amazing – and potentially life-changing.

If you would like to be involved in sponsoring or helping these projects, from as little as £1 per week, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/thespiritofgoole for details.

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