Today, (21st February) we launch our 40th Anniversary Year on what would have been the birthday of WWll flying ace and disability advocate, Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader.
Flying Scholarships for Disabled People was set up in 1983 as a living memorial to his indomitable spirit by the late Paul Bowen and Tim Prince, founders of The Royal International Air Tattoo as Sir Douglas had been a Patron and long-time supporter. His love of flying, despite losing his legs in an air accident, is the inspiration behind the charity and FSDP has been providing flying scholarships for 40 years, enabling over 500 disabled adults across the UK to change their lives for the better through the thrill of aviation. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary, raise awareness of our work and generate additional funds, a number of activities are planned, along with a new logo!
The Big Wing Tour – trustees and supporters will spread the footprint of the charity by visiting over 40 airfields across the country. Taking place in June with aircrews setting out from their local airfields to fly routes, it will cover most of the country. As part of the plan, former FSDP scholars will join the crews to fly on stages of the tour. As well as the former scholars, the crews will also be accompanied by an appropriately named Teddy Bear – with ‘Douglas Bearder’ taking the lead!
Special 40th Anniversary Gala Ball – 16th September at The Royal Air Force Museum Midlands (RAF Cosford). Dining amongst the aircraft with a three-course dinner, auction and entertainment. Tickets are available by contacting: email@example.com.
New mobile APP – this will help past, present and future scholars connect with each other share their experiences of learning to fly and disabilities. This community aspect of the charity is as important as flying for many of the scholars and applicants and the mobile APP will further this facility that has previously only been available via the FSDP website.
Guy Bowen, Chair of the Board of Trustees and son of Air Tattoo founder Paul Bowen said;
“The charity has been changing lives for 40 years and it’s only right that we celebrate this and raise awareness of the positive impact of receiving one of our flying scholarship.
FSDP scholars have a range of disabilities and illnesses including amputation, paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and poliomyelitis. We have now helped over 500 people ‘reach for the sky’ and change their lives by experiencing the joy of freedom in the air, learning new skills and regaining their confidence. Here’s to another 40 years!”