Disabled man from the Wirral who lost his leg after being hit by a car wins scholarship to learn to fly through charity set up in memory of WW2 ace Sir Douglas Bader.
A young man from the Wirral who had to have his left leg amputated after being hit by a car as a teenager, has been awarded a scholarship to learn to fly by a charity set up in memory of the WW2 fighter ace Sir Douglas Bader. Sir Douglas continued to fly despite losing both his legs.
Mark Colquitt (35) said the story of the flying ace inspired him as he prepared for the operation a couple of years ago. He has since been learning to walk on a prosthetic leg.
He was sixteen years old and doing his A levels when the accident happened.
Mark, who now lives in Dronfield in Derbyshire, said his decision to apply to the charity Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, was prompted by a friend at his wheelchair tennis club. Mark had to go through a selection process and said he was excited when told the news he had been chosen.
“ It is a fantastic chance to do something amazing. To be able to fly and not always battle to stand up on my own two feet and walk again. I had so much support and help from the nurses and doctors when I had my leg amputated. I want to show them what I can do and make them proud of me.”
Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP), based at Fairford in Gloucestershire, has trained more than 400 people since it was set up in 1983. Its aim is to give men and women with disabilities the chance to realise their full potential through the mental and physical challenge of learning to fly.
Keith Bayliss Chairman of FSDP said:
“Learning to fly changes people’s lives. Because of their disability, our scholars are often told what they can’t do. Well our aim is to change that perception and give them the confidence to show themselves and the world what they can do. Disability is no barrier to learning to fly. Once they are in the air the scholars talk about having a new found freedom – something they don’t have on the ground. “
The scholars have a range of disabilities and illnesses including haemophilia, limb amputation and paraplegia. Some were born with their conditions, others have them as a result of an accident or disease.
The trainees are sent on three or four week long intensive courses in the in the UK. The cost of the course, which includes both flying lessons and ground school, accommodation and subsistence is free of charge to the scholars.
Mark was presented with his scholarship certificate by FSDP Patron HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan and Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Chief of the Air Staff at a ceremony at the Royal International Tattoo – the world’s biggest airshow on 10 July.
The charity is looking for more disabled people over the age of 18 to apply for a scholarship. You can find out more at www.fsfdp.org.uk.
If you are interested in sponsoring a scholar please contact FSDP General Manager Julie Bull, on 0844 578 4578.