Chichester boy, 9, with autism granted chance to fly in National Grid helicopter over Daedalus, Fareham and Portsmouth after writing in to electricity company
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Henry Russell, who has a ‘limitless’ passion for learning about electricity, wrote in to National Grid to find out more about what they do.
As a result, the nine-year-old was invited to fly in a National Grid operational helicopter complete with a private tour of the IFA2 interconnector site in Fareham – which helps exchange clean energy between the UK and France.
Henry, who wore his favourite jumper adorned with a picture of a pylon for the trip, has been interested in electricity since he was small.
He often uses string to recreate overhead power lines at home and recently completed a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a pylon.
He started his day with a tour of IFA2, the subsea interconnector which links Fareham to France, allowing renewable electricity to be shared between countries.
Decked out in PPE, Henry, who is from Chichester, toured the UK converter site, where power coming through the interconnector comes into the UK and is transported on to the transmission network.
Henry then boarded a National Grid operational helicopter for a 20 minute flight for a bird’s eye view of the grid.
Speaking after the experience, Henry said: ‘It has been a really amazing day – I loved the tour and I loved going in the helicopter.’
National Grid Electricity transmission’s chief helicopter pilot, John Rigby, gave Henry a tour of the aircraft prior to take off.
Daniel Russell, Henry’s father, said: ‘Today has given Henry an opportunity to see something he loves in great detail; he’s been able to learn so much about how power and electricity works, what the net zero future will look like and how power travels to homes and businesses. Today will stay with us for a very long time.’
Mr Rigby added: ‘It’s rare that we get to meet someone who loves electricity as much as we do. It was a pleasure flying with Henry today and a privilege to see his limitless enthusiasm.’