Trust helps make dreams come true
Published: 26 May 2017 updated: 15 Jun 2017
The winners of two RAF Charitable Trust sponsored scholarships, that will enable both scholars to learn how to fly, recently attended a special Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP) Scholar's Seminar at Fairford HQ.
Every year, the Trust sponsors two scholarships; The Tim Prince Award (honouring one of the Royal International Air Tattoo's founding members) and the David Bywater Scholarship (commemorating Air Commodore David Bywater, who helped establish the Trust).
Tom Toolan, winner of the 2017 Tim Prince Award is paralysed from the mid-torso down. He originally applied for a scholarship in 2016 and although not successful, he enjoyed the application stages, encouraging him to apply again in 2017. Tom's flight training will commence on 17th July with Bristol Aero Club at Gloucestershire Airport.
He said: "I came across the Flying Scholarships for Disabled People's website after hearing about similar opportunities in different countries and wondered if there was something in the UK. I have always wanted to fly a plane and I just didn't think there would be an opportunity like this available for those with a disability. I start my training on 17th July for three weeks and I can't wait!"
Winner of the David Bywater Scholarship, Daniel Pelling is paralysed from the armpits down following a spinal injury. He joined the RAF aged 17 following his keen interest in aviation and engineering, which is where his dream of flying aircraft stems from. He starts his three week flight training in September with the Gryphon Aero Club at Cotswold Airport.
"I've never flown a plane before and it's always been something that I have wanted to do. When I found out about the scholarship, I applied but never in a million years did I think I would have been successful. The Trust has given me a life-changing opportunity and I couldn't be more grateful and excited!"
The FSDP was set up in 1983 by the late Paul Bowen and Vice Patron Tim Prince in memory of Group Captain, Sir Douglas Bader. The scholarships aim to challenge and inspire by building up confidence, self-esteem and future aspirations. Each scholar has the costs of flight training, ground school, accommodation and food all covered by the charity.
For more information about the Flying Scholarships for Disabled People charity visit www.fsfp.co.uk