Credo Care Helps Dream Take Flight for Daniel

Credo Care has delivered the first success in its unique Dream Making initiative for children placed with the disability fostering agency’s specialist carers.

Daniel looks out onto the runway from the plane.

Nine-year-old Daniel has Autism and learning disabilities, and lives with his carers Nadine and Paul in the South East where the sight of planes and helicopters taking off and landing at Lydd Airport has become a passion for him.

Daniel at Lydd Airport

So, Credo Care decided to create two firsts: number one, to ensure that this aviation-mad youngster took to the air on his first ever flight. And number two, that this was the first dream to come true as part of not-for-profit Credo Care’s ‘Dream Making’ initiative.

On Wednesday 27th February Daniel soared into the air aboard a Piper PA28 Cherokee aircraft, courtesy of Lydd Airport and TG Aviation, just part of an incredible day staged by the airport exclusively for Daniel.

Daniel's plan flies overhead.

Daniel and his foster family were hosted by Lydd Airport’s Operations team in the VIP lounge before and after the flight and visited the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter base at Lydd, where he was hosted by members of the team from Bristow Helicopters Ltd. He also enjoyed a tour of commercial aircraft based at the Lydd Air hangar including a Beech Jet 400A luxury business jetliner, and a demonstration by Lydd Airport’s fire team.

Credo Care’s own ‘Dream Maker’ Naomi Nixon had approached Lydd Airport Operations Supervisor Steve Mallion to ask if he and his team could help deliver a ‘wow’ moment to Daniel after learning how much time Daniel spent watching comings and goings at the airport.

Steve has worked at the airport for 13 years but was previously a social worker specialising in disabilities, which he said made it all the easier to say ‘yes’ when approached by Naomi as part of her Dream Making project.

Daniel in front of a helicopter.

“As soon as we were approached about this local youngster, we were keen for him to experience a day at our airport, seeing all the amazing things we do here,” said Steve.

Naomi has personal experience with fostering and disabilities, and launched the Dream Making project in 2018.

The project aims to discover the dreams, interests, and wishes of Credo’s children in placement (and their wider families) and use this information to reach out to anyone who can make these dreams come true.

Naomi is excited to have delivered the first dream of the initiative after months of preparation and research:

“When I learned about Daniel’s interest in transport, especially planes and trains, I knew I had to approach Lydd Airport, which is close to the Credo Care head office. Daniel is a wonderful boy who, with the help of carers Nadine and Paul, has made phenomenal progress over the last year. So, it was a privilege to be able to make this happen for him, with help from Steve Mallion, Kate Adams and the team at Lydd Airport, Bristow Group, Lydd Air, the fire team, and the pilot and co-owner of TG Aviation Sue Girdler, who took Daniel on his first flight.”

Sue Girdler has been involved in aviation for over 30 years, and flies a classic 1940s-vintage Boeing-Stearman Model 75 biplane at flying displays around the UK and said: “I have a real passion for aviation. I have taken my grandson, now six, flying since he was a baby. The younger generation are our future and it’s great to be able to encourage and support their dreams. I always say the sky is not the limit; it’s only the beginning.”

And Daniel’s mother, Helena, was thrilled for her son: “I am delighted that Daniel had this special day. When I first heard about the plan, I knew Daniel would love it and I can’t thank everyone enough. It was just an amazing opportunity for him.”

Daniel's specially made ticket for the day

Note: Daniel’s birth mother and his placing local authority have given full consent for this story and pictures to be published.

If you would like more information about this event or to learn more about Credo Care’s Dream Making initiative, please:

Carers with Credo Care can submit ideas and suggestions for their foster children’s dreams through our Credo Care Portal.