A FUNDRAISER is reaching new heights in his bid to help thwart cancer.

Light aircraft pilot Keith Griggs, 67, of Tranent, has been taking people up on leisure flights all over the UK.

And in return, he asks for donations to Cancer Research UK. . . already raising more than £1,00 for the charity.

Keith, 67, lost his brother-in-law to cancer last year so knows full well the impact this devastating disease has on families.

Born in Singapore, he moved to Lammermoor Terrace, Tranent in 1981 after meeting his wife in Edinburgh in 1976.

A retired electrician, he flies a small aircraft, a Piel Emeraude CP301A, in his spare time.

Over the past few months, he has been flying all over the UK, taking people on short flights and accepting donations to his fundraising page.

The flights last about 30 minutes and the aircraft can reach a height of 10,000ft but usually flies between 2,000ft and 4,000ft and at a cruise speed of 85 knots (98mph).

He began his journey from East Fortune on August 19 and carried out about 10 flights in various places across the UK for Cancer Research UK including East Winch, Wickenby, Kent, Isle of Wight and Rochester, concluding the flights on October 3.

Keith said: “Cancer is a personal thing for me: my brother-in-law unfortunately passed away with bowel cancer last year and that inspired me to start fundraising for cancer research.

“I started raising funds last year for the Nicola Murray Trust at the Western General in Edinburgh, where recently Pauline Jaffray sadly passed away with ovarian cancer.

“I’ve now been told that my next door neighbour has got cancer too so it’s just one horrendous thing after another and it’s a fight I’m on board with battling. It really hits home to you when a member of your family is affected and dies from cancer, as well as wonderful people like Pauline Jaffray.”

Ms Jaffray was involved with a number of community groups, including East Lammermuir Community Council and Haddington Farmers’ Market, and ran East Lothian Life magazine for decades.

Keith gained his pilot’s licence in 2000 and has been flying for more than 20 years.

“I don’t intend on stopping any time soon – I still love flying and for as long as I’m able I want to keep doing it,” he said. “You have to have experienced it to realise how enjoyable it is: once you’re up there you’re free and in complete control. For me, flying is a hobby, but I thought to myself I might as well raise some funds while I enjoy my hobby and do something for a good cause.”

And he added: “I don’t think the UK Government does enough to support cancer research – it shouldn’t be left to the public to raise these funds but until more is done we have to keep doing what we can.”

Keith’s efforts were rewarded when he was presented with the Malcolm Allan Trophy for the Most Meritorious Arrival by Air at the Annual Light Aircraft Association Rally in Winchester by chair of the Light Aircraft Association, Eryl Smith.

Keith said : “It meant a lot to me.”

He hopes to carry out a similar fundraising activity next year to try and raise more money for Cancer Research UK.

Donate to Keith’s fundraising page: https://fundraise.cancerre searchuk.org/page/keiths-flight-marathon-for-cruk