Trust Makes Veteran's Spirit Soar
Published: 16 May 2019
RAF veteran Jonny Harvey has been sponsored by the RAF Charitable Trust to be one of eleven scholars in Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP)'s 2019 intake.
Following his deployment to Iraq in 2008, Jonny - a former Royal Air Force Air Traffic Controller - has suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which in turn has triggered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Founded as a living memorial to Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader who in 1931 lost both legs in an air accident, FSDP is a charity which offers disabled people the unique opportunity to learn to fly.
It was a trip to Jersey with Holidays for Heroes that prompted Jonny's application. Whilst away, the charity Helping Wings offered Jonny the chance to fly an aircraft for the first time since his accident.
"I felt the 'old me' come back. I hadn't flown an aircraft for ten years, but it was like I had never been away".
Thanks to the Trust's funding, Jonny is now one of over 450 people who have grown their confidence and independence through FSDP.
FSDP scholars typically have a range of disabilities and illnesses - some they were born with, some were a result of an accident or disease - including amputation, paraplegia, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.
Speaking of the moment he was told his application had been successful, Jonny said: "I couldn't believe it - I felt very proud.
"I thought, I'm going to take this opportunity and run with it".
RAF Charitable Trust Director Justine Morton said: "As an ex-RAF serviceman, we are extremely proud to sponsor Jonny on this incredible journey.
"He is a great ambassador for FSDP and his efforts to raise awareness about living with disability are inspirational. We can't wait to see Jonny take to the skies once more".
Jonny begins his flying training at Turweston Flying Club in September later this year.
For information on FSDP's scholarship programme, visit www.fsdp.co.uk