What is Dreamflight?

about_us

Our history

Dreamflight was co-founded in 1986 by Patricia Pearce and Derek Pereira, both of whom worked for British Airways. Patricia had previously helped to organise a BA project, Skyride, which raised money to take underprivileged children on a one-hour ‘Christmas party’ flight. Patricia and Derek decided to go a step further and raise money to take deserving children to Walt Disney World, and Dreamflight was born.

After recruiting volunteer doctors, nurses and physiotherapists from around the UK, as well as fundraisers and helpers from all walks of life, the first trip took place in November 1987. Dreamflight has operated every year since, and over 5,000 children have now taken part in their ‘holiday of a lifetime’.

Dreamflight is a registered charity in England and Wales (charity no 1117303) and Scotland (SC044892). It is governed by a Board of Trustees, and its day to day operations are managed by the Director, along with a small team in our Amersham office.

Trustees

Prof Simon Bailey (Medical Director)
Dreamflight has been an integral part of Simon’s life for many years. He first became involved as a junior doctor in 1989 and met his wife, Suzanne, on the trip in 1990. In 1999 Simon joined Dreamflight’s Board as a Trustee and as the charity’s Medical Director. Here he is responsible for overseeing the medical aspects of Dreamflight, including selecting the children from the nominations received and overseeing the children’s care whilst in Florida.

He now shares the Medical Director role with Dr Cauvery Pal, who between them rotate as the lead MD on the trip each year. Simon is a Paediatric Oncologist (primarily a Neuro-Oncologist) in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Robert Bass
Robert is a solicitor with some 34 years of legal experience, 29 of those having been spent in-house with the same multi-national organisation. Over the years he has dealt with all corporate legal aspects of the business but his current focus is as Group Company Secretary and Chairman of the Trustees of the UK Pension Plan.

Robert has been involved with Dreamflight for over 20 years, initially as a volunteer and as a fundraising co-ordinator for the company he works for when it was a corporate sponsor of the charity. He was hooked after taking part in the trip and spending time with the children, and for the last 10 years he has been a Trustee.

David Gawn (Chair of Trustees)
David has worked in the travel industry for almost 30 years. He first became aware of Dreamflight whilst working for British Airways Holidays, where he ran the sales and operations centre. He first participated in Dreamflight in 2001 as a non-medical escort, and his passion was seeded. Since then David has filled many different roles within the charity, from working in the office, to regional Group Leader, to joining the Board as a Trustee in 2010. He is currently Sales and Operations Director for the largest ticket retailer for the theme parks of Florida, so his day job and passion for Dreamflight are inextricably linked.

Gaylene Kendall
Gaylene, originally from New Zealand, has lived in the UK for nearly 30 years. She is highly experienced in finance and investments, and is currently Head of Treasury at British Airways. Here she manages the Group’s financial risks and relationships with world wide banks, and is responsible for ensuring the strategic and operational management of worldwide cash positions, Group debt and Treasury systems.

She is married with two teenage daughters and has a passion for travelling. Gaylene joined Dreamflight’s Board in June 2014 to help look after the charity’s finances, and spent time with the children during the 2014 trip.

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah is an experienced HR professional with over 25 years experience. Her expertise is in organization review, change management and global project management, plus mentoring and coaching in both personal and professional development. She worked in Los Angeles for 14 years for Warner Bros Entertainment, leading a large team of HR professionals across the world.

She is an experienced Non Executive Director, serving as a Trustee for various charities where she also provides strategic HR advice. Sarah undertook a review of the Dreamflight charity in 2012 and became a Trustee in 2013. She took part in the 2014 trip and after seeing the effect it had on the children, is now doubly hooked! Sarah is married with three step children and her passion outside of Dreamflight is property development and interior design.

Patricia Pearce MBE
In 1965 Patricia joined BOAC (now British Airways) and worked as a Cabin Service Director on Worldwide routes for 39 years, and took part in the Queen’s Flight in 1974.

During this time she co-Founded the charity Dreamflight, originally as a ‘one off trip’ in 1987. Patricia has been involved in every aspect of the charity, from organising the trip, to fundraising, to selecting the volunteer escorts and in the early days, the selection of the children. She was awarded an MBE in 1997 and carried the Olympic torch in 2012, and has written a book about her flying career and the history of Dreamflight.

Ambassadors

Dreamflight is fortunate to have long-standing supporters who know the charity inside out, and can talk passionately about the effect the 10-day trip can have on deserving children. Our Ambassadors are:

  • John Cavanagh
  • Muriel Searle
  • John Tye
  • Carol Whapshare
  • Valerie Wright

Staff

Dreamflight’s day-to-day operations are managed by a small team in our Amersham office.

Sally Wrampling – Director
Samantha Eddowes – Administrative Assistant
Pip Micklem – Fundraising Manager
Mary Illingworth – Accounts Assistant (p/t)
Paula Wyatt – Senior Administrator