Kind-hearted police officers arranged a ‘test’ flight for a 7 year-old boy, who lives with autism and severe epilepsy, to help make a dream family holiday a reality.
Sam Marston, of Romford, Essex, who is a pupil at Corbets Tey School in Upminster, has spent the first seven years of his life in and out of Great Ormond Street hospital.
However he has recently recovered from successful brain surgery which has stopped him having up to 20 seizures a day.
Now Sam’s Mum Emma (35) and Dad Steve (36) want to take Sam with his brother Joe (13) and sister Sophie (10) on one of the 'dream holidays' offered to them by the various charities they are involved with. The likely destination is Orlando, USA.
However Sam’s condition means the process of checking in, security, boarding the plane, take-off and landing could potentially be traumatic for him.
So SO18 officers PC Pete Coles and PC Scott Gibbons, based at London City Airport, worked with the airport and CityJet to arrange for Sam and his mum Emma to test his response to flying. They flew to Edinburgh on a CityJet flight out of London City Airport on 20 October, returning the same day.
Emma Marston said: "I can't thank the officers from SO18, CityJet and London City Airport enough for this wonderful gesture. Sam is making real progress and this will really help in his development."
MPS Chief Inspector Gordon Atkinson said: “Sam’s parents would love to take him on the family holiday of a lifetime. However they did not want to be in a situation where the first time he set foot on an aircraft was a lengthy 12 hour flight to Florida.
“If Sam decided he did not want to fly out or return, they would rather be in the UK, rather than the USA or another international destination where the process of getting back home would be so much harder.
“Everyone involved from MPS, London City Airport and CityJet wanted to do everything we could to help make this holiday a reality for Sam and his family.”
Michael Collins, Deputy CEO CityJet commented: "We are very pleased to support this fantastic initiative and we hope Sam will thoroughly enjoy his flight with us today. Our crew is looking forward to welcoming him on board and to make sure his first flight experience is a happy one."
Richard Gooding OBE, Chief Executive of London City Airport commented: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Sam and his family to the airport and to work in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and CityJet, the airport’s largest carrier. We are delighted to be able to support Sam and his family ensuring his trip is a stress free and positive experience.”