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Flying Angels

I know this is old news, but maybe Glenn has some contacts!


RBA boss Glenn Stevens a flying Angel in disguise

Angel Flight, Hunter, Lisa and Madeleine Lawson with pilot Glenn Stevens

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens is also an Angel Flight pilot, who helped fly Hunter and Madeleine Lawson, with mum Lisa, to treatment in Sydney.

GLENN Stevens has been called a lot of things in his tenure as RBA boss, but “hero” is not a word that readily comes to mind.

But to the sick and infirm in rural NSW, the 55-year-old is a godsend.

Away from the pressures of high finance, Stevens is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, flying patients in his own six-seat Piper Seneca from the bush to Sydney for treatment.

“I’m quite content flying around by myself, but it’s a satisfying thing to help someone who has a need to get somewhere if you can do it,” Mr Stevens said.

The son of a Qantas flight engineer, the economist said he always wanted to learn to fly but didn’t get around to it until 10 years ago, aged 45.

“It is an escape from the world of banking, but it is not without its stresses,” he said. “It’s stressful, you have to have your wits about you, especially if the weather is bad, but it is a diversion and a good thing to do to help someone else. It brings the problems you have in your own life into perspective.”

Bankers are not known for their soft hearts, but this one’s has been melted on many occasions by the sick children he has helped to transport to hospital.

One memorable case, a little girl from coastal NSW who has brittle bone syndrome, has had dozens of bone breaks and she’s only five, “but you have never met a more positive little kid, it’s amazing,” Mr Stevens said. He said he has conducted about a dozen Angel Flights for the charity, set up in 2003 by former Sydney ad man Bill Bristow.

“I realised pilots love to fly but have less and less reason to, and country people do it tough and need to travel long distances. The pilot gets to fly and gets the satisfaction of helping someone,” Mr Bristow, 56, said.

A network of 2500 pilots have completed over 13,000 flights since, helping young patients such as Hunter Lawson, 10, and his sister Madeleine, 12, of Quirindi.

Both children have severe gastrointestinal dysfunction that requires multiple visits to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick. Stevens has been their pilot on three occasions.

“He’s quite famous and he explained to them what he did for a living,” said mum Lisa. Wauchope’s Sue Stone and her 12-year-old daughter Danielle are also grateful passengers. Danielle has juvenile scoliosis, a spinal deformity that requires her to wear a back brace that has to be refitted every four months in Sydney.

“In the car with Danielle’s back brace was really uncomfortable,”Sue said.