READY, set, pull – the 12th annual Dorset Plane Pull event flew into Bournemouth Airport with more than 20 teams taking part for charitable causes. 

Having been cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the Dorset Plane Pull returned on bank holiday Monday with hundreds in attendance as supportive crowds, volunteers and, of course, pullers.

The challenge is simple, pull a 35,000kg Boeing 737 for a distance of 50 metres as quickly as possible to raise money for a chosen charity. 

Bournemouth Echo: 2021 Dorset Plane Pull event at Bournemouth Airport2021 Dorset Plane Pull event at Bournemouth Airport

Richard Griffin co-founded the Plane Pull back in 2009 and has since gone on to become an airline captain himself. He told the Daily Echo: “I’m thrilled that we managed to pull it off – excuse the pun – because it’s been two years of not doing very much and constant changes in guidelines so it’s amazing to finally be here. 

“We took the decision to reduce the number of teams this year but actually we haven’t noticed that much change. We don’t go mad on the promotion of the event, so I’m really pleased at the turnout. There’s still the same excitement in the air.”

The first team to take on the challenge was JKHouse Training Centre who were pulling for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, a charity formed in memory of Lieutenant John Thornton who was killed in Afghanistan whilst serving with the Royal Marines.

Personal trainer and group leader Kieron Franklin said: “They did very very well. We have such an array of people who are part of this team including two stroke survivors and a veteran who was injured while on tour. 

“To be able to pull the plane for as long as we did, I’m absolutely thrilled to bits for them.”

The 2019 event raised £54,000 which pushed the overall total to £225,000 since 2009.

Bournemouth Echo: 2021 Dorset Plane Pull at Bournemouth Airport2021 Dorset Plane Pull at Bournemouth Airport

Strong times on Monday included the 30.25 seconds taken by ‘It takes a hero to Poole a plane’ – representing the Helping Homeless Veterans charity.

Participants young and old took to the tarmac to take on the monster challenge.

Claire from Bournemouth, who represented the Love from Lucy charity, said: “My legs are wobbling, it was much tougher than I thought.

“I only decided to take part three minutes before we did it and I’m so happy that I did, very pleased.” 

Other charities with teams this year were Dorset Mind, Amelia's Rainbow and Dreamflight.