Smith Valley welcomes pilots on world-record-breaking flight |

Smith Valley welcomes pilots on world-record-breaking flight

by Jonni Hill
Staff Writer

The entire student body and staff of Smith Valley School sat in the bleachers on the edge of the football field Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the helicopter arrival of Jennifer Murray and Colin Bodill. The co-pilots are attempting a world-record-breaking flight to circumnavigate the globe from pole to pole and Smith Valley was one of their designated stops along the way.

The pilots are supporting an international charity called SOS Children’s Village Fund, which is the world’s largest orphan charity. They are working with the Royal Geographical Society of London and have developed an online environmental program that schools and children around the world are taking part in. Smith Valley School is one of 26 schools world-wide that are participating in this program. The fourth and fifth grades in Smith Valley have been following the pilots’ travels since it began Dec. 5, 2006, in Texas.

Murray, 66, and Bodill, 55, arrived in the valley at about 2 p.m. on their return trip from the South Pole in their Bell 407 helicopter and will be spending three days in Smith Valley with Murray’s cousin, Georgia Fulstone, while talking with students, the 99 Club and the Whirlygirls, as well as greeting the general public and talking about their adventures at a reception to be held in their honor at the Smith Valley Library tonight.

Sunday the pilots will take off again, destination, the North Pole in the last leg of their 36,206 mile journey before returning to the starting point of the Fort Worth Alliance Airport near Dallas, Texas. For more information about the this record-breaking flight and the pilots visit