Flying high changes life Featured

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Published in Malmesbury Newspapers
Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:06
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LIFECHANGING scholarships where people with a disability learn to fly have been praised by a Malmesbury woman who believes the experience has helped her come to terms with her illness.

Kathryn Hughes was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago and in 2014 had to begin using a wheelchair after being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

After battling to come to terms with her illness, she was encouraged to apply for the Flying Scholarship for Disabled People and got in.

For three weeks she flew everyday and has mastered taking off and flying, with landing still to get under her belt.

Ms Hughes, 53, of Boxley, said: “When I was diagnosed I didn’t want anyone to know. I wanted to hide away, it took me five years to tell people, I didn’t want to be seen in a wheelchair.

"But as soon as I joined this group, everyone seems to have gone through these same issues as me.

"To be around people who know what it is like meant you make immediate friends as there is a connection.

"They say acceptance is the last thing but I have gone past that and am now ready for a new challenge, it has been life changing.”

As part of the scheme she flew over her own home, has grown in confidence and even since signed up to a scuba diving course and plans to learn how to sail.

She was sponsored by the Royal Airforce Charitable Trust and attended an award ceremony during the royal international air force tattoo by Prince Faisal bin Hussein of Jordan. Ms Hughes learnt to fly at Gloucester airport following a gruelling three day selection process from 19 candidates down to the final 12.

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