British Airways


Press Release   •   Oct 29, 2010 09:46 BST

It’s not every day you get compared to Ewan McGregor, but for Garry Copeland, British Airways director of engineering, that has become his new alias! Yesterday (Thursday 28 October) Garry embarked on a journey to Madrid and back by motorbike, all in the name of Comic Relief.

To send Garry off in style, Charley Boorman who rode with Ewan McGregor for a series of TV programmes joined him for the send-off and rode with him for the first few miles.

Charley said: “It didn’t take much persuasion to get my bike gear on and help out this fantastic challenge. I’ve travelled the world on two-wheels, including some of the toughest terrains, so it was good to share some of my tips with Garry too!”

At the eve of his departure, Garry had raised his target £11,000 for the ride, but is now hoping to exceed this figure. Proceeds will be donated to ‘Flying Start’, British Airways’ charity partnership with Comic Relief. The partnership aims to raise millions of pounds to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the UK and some of the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking on his adventure, Gary said: “Last year I was involved in the British Airways relief flight to Haiti – it was an amazing experience and triggered something inside me. I realised that contributing to other people’s efforts is good, but not good enough. This inspired me to get on my bike, quite literally!

“I’m now proposing to ride to Madrid and back in five days in aid of Flying Start. It’s a great opportunity to raise money and awareness about the partnership, and hope it will inspire others.”

The five-day adventure started on Thursday (28 October) at British Airways engineering bay at Heathrow airport, reaching Iberia’s engineering base at Madrid Airport on Saturday. With no time to spare, Garry will turn around to meet his schedule of returning back to London for Monday afternoon.

Garry will ride over 2,000 miles on his journey, which will take him via Portsmouth and St Malo in France toward the Spanish border. His return journey will take him to Burgos north of Madrid, then Tours and Calais in France, before returning to Heathrow’s engineering bay.

Gary will be travelling on his BMW R1200GS Adventure, without any support vehicles, on this one-man mission.

To support Gary and ‘Flying Start’, you can make a donation at; As a further incentive, AJ Walters Aviation will donate £1,000 for every £4,000 raised, in addition to the £1,000 they have already pledged.