Norwich man flies paramotor down UK for Alzheimer's research

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Image source, Daniel Jones
Image caption,
It has taken Daniel Jones about a year to plan the 800-mile (1,287km) charity flight with a target of raising £2,021

A paramotor pilot has completed an emotional solo flight down the length of Great Britain to help raise awareness of Alzheimer's research.

Daniel Jones, 27, from Norwich, took off from John O'Groats in Scotland on 16 August and arrived at Land's End in England on Monday.

The fundraising flight was made in tribute to his grandparents who died with Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.

"It's been unreal," he said as the total raised topped more than £7,000.

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The tears fell just after after take-off in John O'Groats as Daniel Jones discovered he had reached his fundraising target

"I wanted to do something in nanny and grandad's name, to get younger people talking about dementia and to help fight a disease that shouldn't happen to anyone," said Mr Jones.

Image source, Daniel Jones
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Grandmother Rosemary and grandfather Fred died within a fortnight of each other three years ago
Image source, Daniel Jones
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"I still think I'm in a daze even after my final landing," said Mr Jones. "The whole trip down the UK has been unreal."

It took Mr Jones a week to fly down the length of the UK mainland from Caithness to Cornwall, stopping one day due to heavy rain, with about 35 hours in the air and at times travelling at speeds of more than 70mph (110km/h).

Accompanied on the ground by his dad driving a support van, on Sunday he was forced to make an emergency landing just after leaving Weston-super-Mare in Somerset due to an engine problem.

Image source, Daniel Jones
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The emergency landing caused Dan's father Alan to "have kittens"
Image source, Daniel Jones
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An investigation after the emergency landing found a problem with the spark plugs in the paramotor engine

"It was a heavy landing with my wing [flight canopy] getting caught in a tree and swinging me through - I gave dad kittens. I felt fine but was sore the next morning," he said.

Image source, Daniel Jones
Image caption,
Daniel Jones was able to give his dad on the ground eye-in-the-sky travel updates as they travelled south from the northern coast of Scotland to south-west England
Image source, Suzanne Lee
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"My parents would have been over the moon at what Dan's done," said Daniel's dad Alan Jones

Speaking just after landing in Cornwall Mr Jones said: "I feel pretty good. Tired, emotionally exhausted, but happy.

"The whole trip has been amazing, the support has been overwhelming - from the people turning up at the landing sites to say hello and bring snacks, to those who've kindly donated what they can to help the fundraising.

"There's been a lot of tears, especially after I got to the end and thought about nanny and grandad and the whole reason I wanted to do this challenge."

According to Alzheimer's Research UK without the discovery of a cure it is estimated one in three people born today will develop dementia.

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