Man flies paramotor across the UK for Alzheimer’s charity

A man has flown from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a paramotor to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK after his paternal grandparents both died with the disease.

Daniel Jones, 27, of Norwich, said there were some “scary moments” on his way from Scotland to Cornwall, including clipping a tree in Somerset and almost getting blown over a mountain and into a valley in the Cairngorms.

The photographer took up the hobby of paramotoring, a motorised form of paragliding in which a person straps an engine and propeller to their back, in 2019.

He decided to dedicate his challenge to his grandparents and has raised more than £8,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Alan Jones with his father who drove a support vehicle (Alan Jones/PA)
Daniel Jones with his father Alan who drove a support vehicle (Daniel Jones/PA)

His grandfather Fred Jones, 88, died in 2018 and his grandmother Rosemary Jones died a fortnight later aged 87.

They had both lived in the same care home in Buxton in Norfolk, and their funeral was held at the church where they got married in Aylsham.

“I wanted to do a challenge for me and to dedicate it to my grandparents as well,” said Mr Jones.

“No-one should have to go through what they went through and what our family went through.”

He set off from John O’Groats in Scotland on August 16 and reached Land’s End in Cornwall on Monday.

Daniel Jones dedicated his challenge to his paternal grandparents Fred and Rosemary Jones, who died within a fortnight of each other in 2018, with Alzheimer's. (Family photo/ PA)
Daniel Jones dedicated his challenge to his paternal grandparents Fred and Rosemary Jones, who died within a fortnight of each other in 2018, with Alzheimer’s (Family photo/PA)

His journey involved more than 35 hours of flying, with his 67-year-old father Alan Jones driving a support vehicle.

His paramotor can fly for around four hours on a tank of fuel, and he made between one and three stops per day.

He said he experienced engine failure on the penultimate day of his challenge and had to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.

“I just clipped a tree which dragged me into the tree,” he said.

“I had to climb up the tree and cut my wing out of a tree.”

Daniel Jones after his canopy was caught in a tree (Daniel Jones/PA)
Daniel Jones after his emergency landing when his canopy was caught in a tree (Daniel Jones/PA)

He said he was uninjured and an engineer checked his paramotor over.

He said that in another “scary moment”, earlier in the week in the Cairngorms, he was “nearly blown over the back of a mountain into a valley”.

He said that when he finally got a tailwind behind him, he ended up travelling at 72mph (117km/h) when he normally flies at 27mph (44km/h).

Speaking after reaching Land’s End, alongside his father, Mr Jones said: “We’ve done it, what a challenge.

The paramotor at Land's End (Daniel Jones/PA)
The paramotor at Land’s End at the end of the challenge (Daniel Jones/PA)

“You’ve been there along with me all the way.

“I’m a bit speechless about it all really.

“I’m just so overwhelmed.

“It’s a hell of a long way.”

He thanked all who supported him.

Alan Jones said: “It’s a bit emotional.

“We’ve done it.”

The stops that Mr Jones made between John O’Groats and Land’s End were: Helmsdale in the Highlands; Glackmore near Inverness; Kincraig near Aviemore; Stirling; Gretna Green; Tebay in Cumbria; Clitheroe in Lancashire; Crewe in Cheshire; Hagley in Worcestershire; Weston-super-Mare; South Molton in Devon; Davidstow in Cornwall, and Redruth.

He set out to raise £2,021 for Alzheimer’s Research UK and said he has raised more than £8,000 so far, including JustGiving, Gift Aid and other pledged donations.

To donate, see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/flightagainstalzheimers