Reg Shiel & Warren Sparrow
Chairman Don Hamilton introduced our visiting Angels, Reg Shiel and Warren Sparrow. Angel Flights is a volunteer-based, Not-for-Profit charity providing free aerial transport to and from hospitals in the capital cities for patients when medical intervention will not be required. Their objective is not only to provide transport but also to provide it in a caring environment to minimize the human trauma which the patient and their families are experiencing.
The presentation by Reg and Warren was in the form of a “tag team match” with each one feeding off the experience of the other. Reg noted that the service was established in 2003 by pilot Bill Bristow AM and now operated with 6 paid staff and the major expense was fuel cost. No Government assistance or formal fundraising was received and operating expenses were limited to 15% of revenue.
Warren was the land Angel of the team coming from a background as an Air Traffic Controller at Moorabbin. He noted that volunteer pilots must have logged a minimum of 250 hours flying time and ages ranged from early 20’s to whenever. Referrals were medically related and co-ordination of flights between available aircraft, hospitals, land transport and sometimes accommodation were logistically a time consuming and sometimes frustrating process. There was no formal follow up process with patients but the feedback over the years ranged from tragic heartbreak to the odd good news story.
Both Warren and Reg were clearly committed to and gained great satisfaction from the opportunity to serve the community and contribute to the relief of suffering of those in their care which was a theme taken up by Chairman Don in moving a vote of thanks and relating his similar experiences with the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation.