A grandad flew a helicopter 3,000 miles around the entire UK to take his mum on a final journey and spread her ashes along the way.

Andrew Greenhalgh, 73, wanted to take his mother Marie – who passed away aged 95 in November 2019 – to new places.

Setting off from his hometown of Great Baddow in Essex, he embarked on an eight-day trip around the UK, just two months after getting his helicopter licence.

He flew to the Shetland Islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, before flying south to Wales, the Scilly Isles, Cornwall and Jersey.

He touched down and scattered his mum’s ashes at random spots along the route.

He said: ‘I’m sure my mum would love it, she would think it was great.

‘My younger brother also isn’t very well, he has a cancer that can’t be treated and he has said that he wants to go along with mum.

Map of Andrew's route
Andrew touched down to spread the ashes at spots around the route over eight days (Picture: Andrew Greenhalgh)

‘He doesn’t want to be in the same jar, he wants to be in a honey jar because he likes honey.’

During the trip, he could only fly his red chopper named Whirlybird for around two and a half hours at a time so had to make plenty of stops along the coastal route.

His mum Marie has had quite a tour, as Andrew told Essex Live he even took her ashes to the Arctic Circle and spread some of them there before the pandemic hit, allowing her to go somewhere new even after she died.

He was inspired to learn to fly a helicopter by his grandson Arthur, seven, who loved the program Helicopter ER, and started taking lessons 20 months ago.

As well as the epic journey around Britain, he’s taken Arthur on a few trips, including a specific route that enables pilots to travel safely in the capital.

He said: ‘My grandson came to live with me in lockdown, and one of his favourite programs was Helicopter ER.

‘He thought it was great, and I thought there was no reason to why I couldn’t try to get my licence.’