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Up and away for gyrocopter challenge

An entrepreneur who beat cancer lifts off today on an epic bid to become the first person to fly round the world in a gyrocopter.

Norman Surplus (47), will wave goodbye to his wife and two young children as he flies away in the lightweight aircraft from a playing field in his hometown of Larne, Co Antrim.

With an arduous four months of solo travel ahead of him, Norman has already completed a remarkable journey to even get to the start.

Five years ago he was diagnosed with cancer. But after months of treatment he defeated the disease and is now intent on breaking a world record to raise money for cancer research.

“Before I got cancer I had never done anything like this,” he said. “And then when I was recovering after surgery and chemotherapy at the Belfast Cancer Centre I saw this programme about someone restoring an autogyro on one of those daytime television shows.

“That's when I had the idea for this expedition.

“Part of this is to raise funds and awareness for cancer charities but hopefully it will also encourage people who are in the position today that I was in.

“Five years ago my future looked very grim, but now things are completely different. That’s a nice thought to have.”

Norman will fly from east to west, covering around 300 miles a day, and hopes to land back in Larne some time in mid-July.

He still needs sponsors to complete the challenge. For more information email gyroxgoesglobal@gmail.com

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