Yapton mum wins scholarship for disabled pilots

Mum of four Amanda Worne will now train as a pilot
Mum of four Amanda Worne will now train as a pilot

She may no longer be able to walk – but soon Amanda Worne will be able to fly.

The paralysed Yapton mum has just won a scholarship to become a disabled pilot.

Amanda, 47, has been selected by the charity Flying Scholarships for Disabled People and will soon start a four-week training course to gain her wings.

Delighted Amanda, who last year wrote a book called The Sky is not the Limit, said: “This shows that the sky is not the limit.

“As a friend said, ‘who needs legs when you have wings’?”

A friend suggested she should apply last year and after she filled in an ‘extensive’ application process, she received a letter in February inviting her to an assessment day at RAF Cronwell. There she had to go through two interviews and then prove she could get into a plane on her own.

Amanda said: “I had to get onto the wing, leaving my wheelchair on the ground, open the door and pull myself into the cockpit.

“It was tough, it took me about ten minutes to get my breath back.”

Amanda has been paralysed from the waist down since a cycling accident in August 2015, so hauling herself into the aircraft was a major achievement itself.

“There were 16 people going for 12 places and each had amazing stories and reasons for wanting to fly,” Amanda said.

“It made me think ‘do I really deserve this’, but in my interview I said I was doing this so I could inspire the school kids I go and give talks to. When I told the school children I was going to fly despite not being able to walk, their little faces lit up.”

She added: “The family has had a lot of stresses lately so this is such a lift.

“Now I have to prove I am worthy of a scholarship and make everyone proud.”

Having undergone the gruelling assessment day last Tuesday, on Thursday she was told she’d been successful, and is being sponsored by the Red Arrows.

Soon she will start her training in Salisbury.