Brent Bidston prepares to take a passenger on a flight to Kelowna with Angel Flight. Photo Submitted

Brent Bidston prepares to take a passenger on a flight to Kelowna with Angel Flight. Photo Submitted

Getting to know Angel Flight

With the days growing shorter and the weather growing colder, the nearing holidays sends warmth into our hearts. Angels can be symbolic of the Christmas season, and few probably know that we have angels above us in the East Kootenay that soar on the generosity of the communities’ support.

Angel Flight East Kootenay is a free transportation service for residents of the East Kootenay needing to attend medical appointments in Kelowna, B.C. This amazing service is a fully volunteer run charity and utilizes small fixed wing aircraft for a timely transport for eligible candidates.

This service provides drop-offs, same day returns, and pick ups for patients of the East Kootenay region. They are currently flying out of the Cranbrook International Airport and the Sparwood Elk Valley Airport to Kelowna, but hope to expand to other locations with the help of additional pilots with aircraft in the future. To be eligible for a flight, there are some requirements and restrictions as follows:

• You must be able to walk and board the small aircraft.

• Due to the size of the aircraft, no wheelchairs or walking frames.

• No communicable illnesses.

• There is no medical assistance on the flight.

• No washroom facilities available on the aircraft.

• Flights are weather dependent.

• Due to the shorter winter days, appointment times between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Kelowna time are preferable. Timeline to change during spring and summer.

Does this apply to anyone you know? Visit AngelflightEK.ca, click on “Request a Flight” button and fill out the application, download and get your physician to sign the waiver and an Angel Flight East Kootenay representative will contact you.

Meet our angels, Brent and Todd, the men that always have their eyes to the skies and souls ever searching for ways to aid the community.

Brent Bidston, the president and lead pilot, is a retired airline captain with a career of 30 years for various airlines and experience flying many aircraft types. He and his wife immigrated to Canada from the UK in 2005 to enjoy an early retirement.

Since then, they have served 10 years with the BC Ambulance Service in Fernie and founded the Elk Valley Air Search and Rescue, a unit of Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, which has been operating in the Rocky Mountains since 2012.

Todd Weselake, a director and pilot, is a Fernie local who truly embodies flight itself. From his aptly named Raven Eye Photography, to his fun-loving parrot, he always has his head in the clouds, but pursuing a career in aviation, he takes aviation safety extremely serious.

They are both passionate about being part of this incredible charity and excited to cultivate the growth and success of Angel Flight East Kootenay with the support and donations of the community.

If you would like to be a part of this amazing charity, you can donate through the AngelflightEK.ca website by clicking the “Donate” button (tax receipts available). Every donation goes a long way to aid in keeping this a free service for those in need. In addition, if you or someone you know are a pilot with an aircraft that would like to join the Angel Flight East Kootenay, please see the pilot page on our website.

Happy holidays to all this season.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

(File Photo)
Riders challenge Rockies in last game prior to mandated break

KIJHL games are set to resume on Dec. 4 following a two week long pause

.
Loblaws reports worker tested positive for COVID-19 in Fernie

The worker’s last shift at Kevin’s Your Independent Grocer was on November 10

(Black Press file)
Interior Health reports 31 new COVID-19 cases

In the region, health authority reports 235 total active cases

Kelsey Merton and Sam Finnigan enjoy the comedic acts. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Infinitea sets stage for amateur women comedians

The joyful event encouraged local ladies to take the stage while celebrating Infinitea’s closure

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read