A COMMUNITY leader will be hitting new heights as he bids to help raise £20,000 for a Leek special school.
Councillor David Shaw, pictured, Vice-chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, is planning a charity flight in a Cessna 152 light aircraft from Derby to The Meadows School to boost the coffers of a project aimed at helping students learn skills and gain employment.
This year's council chairman Colin Pearce, has pledged to use his term in office to support the school in the establishment of a horticulture venture.
Thanks to a Lottery grant, the school is building a horticulture centre which will deliver sensory experiences, enterprise activities, and accreditations and qualifications for students.
The school, which is on the same campus as Leek High School in Springfield Road, hopes to raise up to £20,000 to help purchase transport and equipment, including a multi-person vehicle to transport small groups of students, a trailer for heavy equipment, and garden maintenance tools. These items will also allow extra curricular activities to be extended.
Mr Shaw said: "I wanted to do something as vice-chairman to support the chairman's efforts to raise funds for this worthy cause and, as a keen pilot, taking to the skies seemed like a great way of raising the profile and some much needed cash at the same time.
"The flight will take place during the first week in September and I am asking people to guess how long it will take.
"The journey is 31 miles and the aircraft can cruise at up to 105 miles per hour.
"At £5 per guess, it's a fun way for people to get involved with the chance to win a free flying lesson – and the school gets every penny."
The school's long-term aim is to help students find employment in adult life by working with community groups to form a partnership which can bid for contracts to manage and maintain gardens and estates.
The intention is that students will, with supervision, maintain gardens and local community areas.
Ultimately, this could lead to students gaining skills and then employment.
Pledge forms for the fund-raising flight are available from reception at Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek, or from Val Johnson by calling 01538 395622.