By Michael MacDonald
A 10-year-old Dartmouth boy with a passion for vintage aircraft and military history is planning to take his hobby to new heights — and he’s asking his neighbours to help him get there.
Since the beginning of the year, Euan MacDonald has been raising money in pursuit of a big dream: getting to fly aboard a massive, four-engine Avro Lancaster bomber — a Second World War behemoth that is among his favourite airplanes.
“Many men gave their lives in these planes to protect our country,” says Euan, an avid hockey player and comic-book reader who is in Grade 5 at Hawthorn Elementary School.
“I think it would be an honour to fly in one. I also think it’s a miracle of Canadian aviation because of how well-built it is.”
There are only two of this kind of aircraft left in the world that still fly. One of them is in Hamilton, Ont., at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. The cost for a ride isn’t cheap. The non-profit museum charges $3,500 per passenger.
Still, Euan is determined to reach his lofty goal. At the centre of his fundraising campaign is a Facebook page called “It’s Lancaster Time,” where he routinely posts message, photos and videos about his latest money-making ventures. He’s organized a successful bottle drive, saved up his allowance and sold some old toys online. He also has a GoFundMe page.
This week, Euan is getting ready for his next fundraising event: a bake sale this Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Alderney Landing Farmers Market in downtown Dartmouth — from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The reaction to his project has been impressive. In just over a month, he’s raised more than $1,000 thanks to donors from across Canada.
His plan is to take to the air in the summer of 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and his graduation from elementary school.
Michael MacDonald is a journalist with The Canadian Press news agency in Halifax. He is also Euan’s dad, and loves vintage aircraft, too.