MEMBERS of a Largs group have donated cash to a humanitarian air operation which has been saving lives around the world for more than 75 years.

MAF - Mission Aviation Fellowship -  is the world's largest humanitarian air operator.

Since 1946 the Christian organisation has been flying light aircraft over jungles and mountains in order to deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines and more to communities in some of the world's most remote areas.

The work of MAF was explained in detail to members of Largs Probus Club by MAF area representative David Wilson, who described the origins of the organisation and the incredible and dangerous journeys that they undertake.

At the end of the Second World War, two redundant pilots, Jack Hemmings and Stuart King, realised that planes could help rebuild damaged parts of the world by using them for good rather than destruction.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

In 1946 pilot Betty Greene flew the first MAF aircraft on its inaugural mission, transporting two missionaries to a remote jungle location in Mexico.

MAF now operates in Africa, South and Central America, and northern Australia, reaching 1,400 destinations in 26 countries using a fleet of 135 light aircraft, mostly Cessna 208 Caravans.

Their initial work was evangelistic, helping churches in remote areas, but MAF now covers medical work and supplies, and disaster relief after natural events, such as earthquakes and typhoons.

They were very busy during the Covid pandemic and are currently very active in South Sudan where there are 2.4 million displaced children.

As an example of Medevacs, flying people for medical care, David described a round trip of 840 miles to collect five people for urgent medical care in Timor-Leste (previously East Timor).

Evacuations are humanitarian in nature - for example rescuing 22 children from a village in South Sudan, where they would have either been killed or recruited into guerrilla forces.

Successful operations are a team effort, from the local inhabitants who keep the airstrips open, to the maintenance teams and of course the air crew and pilots.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Largs Probus donated to humanitarian aircraft operation which they found inspiring.Largs Probus donated to humanitarian aircraft operation which they found inspiring. (Image: Largs Probus)

With global warming on many people’s minds, David explained that flying to these remote places is a much more efficient use of time, and generates much less CO2 than trying to take a fleet of Land Rovers through the bush or jungle.

Phil Theaker gave the vote of thanks, citing a story he knew of a plumber who retrained as a pilot for MAF as he felt that was what God wanted him to do.

At the end of the meeting a collection for MAF raised £157.

The club will next meet at the Willowbank Hotel on Wednesday 31 January when David Vennard will speak on The North West Passage. The meeting starts at 10am.

Largs Probus Club is an association of active retirees with the basic purpose of keeping their minds active, expanding their interests and enjoying the fellowship of new friends.

To join, go to