Let your talent take flight

If you’ve got what it takes to be the best in your field, you could be a Great Briton
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It’s happening sooner than you think – The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games get off to a spectacular start on 27 July 2012. And, to celebrate, British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Games, has launched a competition called Great Britons, the prizes for which are flights to destinations all over the world.


The competition is open to every UK citizen resident in the UK and aged 16 and over who needs support to develop their talent. The categories are sport, fashion, the performing arts, innovation, community, and art and design.

These six categories are the crux of BA’s nationwide search for Great Britons, talented individuals and groups who demonstrate the values associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and who strive to be the best in their chosen field, whatever it is.

Entrants must be determined, competitive and courageous enough to follow their dreams, and have a burning desire to visit a place that could advance their career.

The winners get flights to BA destinations anywhere in the world and the use of its luxury Executive Club lounges, plus a winner’s pack, which includes a camcorder for recording their incredible journey.

Leesa Bertram, who was shortlisted in round 5, is a fashion designer who wants to win flights to New York. “I’d be unbelievably excited to pack my bags and jet off to New York for an overdue research and networking trip to build my Pretty Disturbia range further,” she says. “I work every hour designing and marketing Pretty Disturbia.”

Actor Dan Poole was shortlisted in round 6. He and his friend Giles Terera are filming a documentary about performing Shakespeare, for which they’ve filmed interviews with actors, directors, casting directors and others who’ve been in, or staged, his plays. They’d like to win flights to America to do some interviews that will enable them to finish the film.

“There are lots of people over there who will speak to us, but it’s getting there that’s the problem because there are some big costs involved,” says Poole. “Flights to the US are a massive expense – and we’d need to take another person with us to help with the filming.”

Another couple of friends, Siân Lamprey and Mia Harris, who were shortlisted in round 5, hope to win BA flights so that they can continue their creative arts project with Zambia’s street children.

“If we won, it would mean the money we have fundraised so far can go towards other costs, such as resources and materials for the children to use,” says Lamprey.

“Flights are one of the biggest single costs, and it would make a huge difference to the project if we didn’t have to pay for them.”

One of the Great Britons judges is Denise Lewis, who won a gold medal in the heptathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, despite being injured in the weeks immediately before the event.

“I got involved in Great Britons because I’m an Olympian, and I know what it takes to have a passion and to need someone’s support and help to realise your dream,” she says.

“It’s important that an iconic brand like British Airways is doing something to draw out people’s passions and inspire them. Everyone deserves an opportunity to strive for their goals and be the best they can.”