Board Of Trustees
fly2help is the brainchild of Phill O'Dell. He brings a wealth of aviation experience with him, having served for eighteen years in the Royal Air Force flying the Buccaneer, Jaguar and Hawk jets and finishing his service as an RAF test pilot. In 2001, Phill became the chief test pilot for Rolls-Royce based at Filton, and is also well known for displaying their Mk19 spitfire, PS853... a dirty job but someone has to do it!
Phill believes that fly2help can bring a huge injection of exhilaration into people's life, saying "the enthusiasm it generates is amazing and the difference it makes is instantly obvious to see".
Chris Hadlow began learning to fly at the age of ten. He is a former Royal Air Force Squadron Leader, who spent sixteen years in the RAF, including six years as a Jaguar pilot and periods as an instructor. After leaving the RAF, he became a commercial airline pilot, and then worked for TAG Aviation flying a private Gulfstream 450 jet. In 2010, Chris replaced founder Phill O’Dell as fly2help’s CEO, successfully expanding Air Smiles Days into other airports. Chris is currently a pilot with Rolls-Royce and an instructor for the Boultbee Flight Academy. He is married with two children and his wife, Dawn, who also played an important part in fly2help’s growth.
Gill trained and practiced as a lawyer, specialising in family law, before joining the voluntary sector as a legacy and in memoriam specialist, working for Christian Aid and Sue Ryder Care. She set up a business to provide comprehensive support to charities and their corporate partners, aiming to maximise the opportunities for fundraising and skills sharing; as well as advising charities how to develop lasting support from individuals.
Gill became a Trustee of fly2help in 2015, providing knowledge and expertise in charity management and fundraising.
A keen private pilot, aircraft operator and father of a beautiful disabled child himself, Steven was invited to fly one of the first ever Air Smiles Days, in 2007 for Nicole Biddulph and her family from Devon. It was a happy and rewarding day, which inspired Steven to become a long-standing supporter of fly2help. He is a regular volunteer pilot and joined the Board of Trustees in 2012.
When he is not flying, Steven has several business interests. He is a founding partner of Sulis Ventures, a business consultancy, and non-executive chairman of UP Communications. He is also a trustee of UNICEF UK.
Steven's career began in journalism, progressing to be joint Deputy Editor of The Sunday Express. Following his time on Fleet Street, Steven joined Sir Richard Branson's Virgin, where he was a founding member of the management team which launched Virgin Mobile in 1999. After selling Virgin Mobile to ntl in 2006, he went onto to serve on the management boards of Orange, T-Mobile and EE, where he was responsible for branding and communications.
Steven lives in Wiltshire with his partner and their two children.
Mark is a private pilot who has regularly flown families on Air Smiles Days and joined the Board of Trustees in 2016. He flies a CAP10 (fully aerobatic) and an Eclipse (Very Light Jet). He enjoys sharing the wonders of aviation and loves witnessing the excitement of people's first flight, young and old.
His day job is in Venture Capital; he is a co-founder of Eden Ventures, an investor in early stage technology companies, and has helped start over fifty software companies across the UK. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, snowboarding, kitesurfing, motorcycling, cycling, running and swimming and is an active motor-racer, competing in the British GT series.
David Hughes MD FFARCS
David Hughes MD FFARCS
David qualified as a Doctor in 1969 and decided to pursue a career in Anaesthesia, working in many countries, including the UK, Antarctica and Australia. He developed an interest in diving physiology and became a medical officer in the Royal Naval Reserves.
Having worked in a number of specialist children’s hospitals, David decided to specialise in Paediatric Anaesthesia, becoming Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in 1981 until retiring in 2011. During this time, David was very involved in the development of the new children’s hospital, in a managerial role and as a member of the board of the Grand Appeal which raised a considerable amount of money for the hospital. In the later stages of his career, he was Medical Director of the United Bristol Healthcare Trust during a considerable period of change.
David is a Trustee of fly2help and of the Ronald MacDonald House Charity, which supports families whilst their children are in-patients in the hospital. He is a knowledgeable gardener, opening his garden to raise money for the University of Bristol Botanical Gardens, and enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, ski-ing and sailing.
Mark joined the RAF directly from school and the Air Training Corps and began a 31 year career as a pilot. 1500 hours on each of the Jaguar and Tornado jets, then Staff College and tours in London on the Air Staff as well as operational tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the operational HQ at Northwood. Mark left the RAF in 2010, retiring from HQ 1 Group where he had responsibility for the Typhoon fighter and latterly also for the BBMF. Whilst there, Mark happened to discuss charity work with Phill O’Dell whilst they were both at a charity dinner. This saw the start of a strong relationship between fly2help and the Austin Healey Club’s South Western region, whose members and cars support Air Smiles Days thus bringing an extra dimension to the main flying experience of the day. Mark’s hobbies & interests include classic cars, cooking and food, travel - especially Italy - and he speaks German and (some!) Italian. Mark lives with partner Joanna, who also supports fly2help events as a volunteer.
Ed Rackham FCA
Ed Rackham FCA
Ed trained as a chartered accountant with KPMG, gaining his ACA qualification in 2002. He had a varied portfolio of clients, including those in the aerospace sector. He also undertook short term secondments in Australia and Belgium, and to KPMG’s Forensic practice in London.
Having been the senior manager on the audit of Airbus in the UK, the opportunity arose for Ed to take on the role of Head of Accounting for Airbus Operations Limited. He jumped at the chance and has not looked back. His role is very varied, interesting and challenging and he learns something new every day.
Ed joined the Board of Trustees in 2016 in order to reinforce the financial focus. As a father of two young children, Sophie and Tom, he is passionate about fly2help’s work with young people and the positive change made through small acts of kindness.
David Sproxton is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman. Together with co-founder Peter Lord, he has overseen the development of the studio from a two-man partnership to one of the pre-eminent animation houses in the industry, producing films such as “Chicken Run”, “Wallace & Gromit : The Curse of the Wererabbit”, “Flushed Away” and more recently “Shaun the Sheep: Movie”. David and Peter were awarded CBE’s in 2006.
David has served on the board of the Bristol Old Vic, National Film & Television School, @Bristol and currently chairs Encounters Film Festivals. When the weather and time allows David enjoys flying around the sky in a glider.