While busy working as a physiotherapist my partner Richard rarely rang me at work and that was usually with difficult news from his oncology appointments.
Then one day, mid clinic, a call came that was as far from those as it’s possible to imagine… he’d just flown solo and was literally crying with joy.
The challenge of learning to fly brought back so much fulfilment, self esteem, excitement and pride to what turned out to be Richard’s final months.
Having volunteered for several years in the FSDP medical team and more recently as a trustee, I am honoured to play my part helping others rediscover their very best versions of themselves.
In 2017 I was awarded a scholarship with Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, I started to learn to
fly. I took that incredible feeling of freedom that flying brings and started to turn my life and metal
health around. This was a new beginning for me, it was time to take back control, it was time for me
to stop looking backwards and trying to get back to who I was and to start looking forward to what I
Since my scholarship, I have restarted work on my PhD, taken up archery and started singing lessons,
I have even sung at my first public gig. FSDP gave me the strength to face the fact that my life was
never going to go back to what it was and helped me to realise that was ok, I didn’t need to go
backwards. Having to retire at 33, when my career was such a huge part of my life had a massive
impact on my self-worth, I honestly felt like I was useless and on the scrap heap. My scholarship gave
me the confidence to look forward to my future and to realise that I could still make a massive
difference. When I am not in hospital I use my time to raise awareness of invisible illness and in
particular Ehlers Danlos, I have written for global online blogs, been part of awareness videos and
even been a calendar girl, showing the younger generation that it is ok to be different.
FSDP is so close to my heart because of what they did for me and how much they helped me
that I wanted to give something back. So I started to fundraise for them and have managed to secure
funding for 3 scholarships. I am also extremely proud that in 2019, I was appointed as an FSDP
trustee. I am really looking forward to seeing the difference the scholarships can make in others.
I joined FSDP in March 2020, 3 days before the first lockdown! This meant that I was unable to bear witness to a scholarship for my entire first year, but learnt all about them through speaking to ex-scholars and hearing their inspirational stories. I used to run an Ultra Marathon company and a pre-pitched camping and glamping company, so events and organisation are in my blood! I’m very much looking forward to the new challenges that FSDP will offer me, and can’t wait to meet everyone in person!
I began working as a volunteer in the office in May 2004 and until the virus put paid to my attendance did so regularly. My task was to do basic office jobs freeing up the one paid worker for more involved activities. I worked at first with Sue Whitby then with Julie Bull and hopefully, will before long see more of you.
Since we started seminars I have very much enjoyed being part of those days. In Sue’s time I was also giving talks on the charity.
Seeing applicants journeys from the initial enquiry, through selection, to their training has made working for the charity really rewarding for me, I have been proud to take a small part.
My interested in aviation comes from my having been a Catering Officer in (what was then) the WRAF – but in those days you left on marriage! I did spend 33 more years as an RAF wife.