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Julie was, at just 23, an active sportswoman, a good musician and had a full career ahead of her. The first few pains in her joints started. When she was 25, the pains were severe and arthritis had been diagnosed. Her 28th was not such a good year, she had her second hip replacement and at thirty was confined to a wheelchair with no chance to walk again. In 1996 at the age of 32 she was totally reliant on her parents and had given up hope on life.


The BBC ran a story on flying for the disabled; flying was always something Julie had wanted to do, and so she applied. Following a very tough selection process Julie was chosen and then flown to Atlanta, where the heat would also help her arthritis, for flying training. Furthermore, she had to travel alone as part of her agreement. The challenge was almost too much for her and her instructor sat her down one day and laid out her options. Julie decided to try harder rather than be sent home in disgrace. She went "solo" and the rest is history.

It would be fine to end her story here, but it continues. When she arrived back in the UK the principal of " Flying for the Disabled" was pleased to see that from the very despondent lady who went to Atlanta returned a bubbly young woman.

Julie had already arranged some more flying in the UK. Julie helped with the selection of the 1997 students where she persuaded people who believed that all was lost could do something for themselves.

Last year she attended the Royal Aeronautical Society Annual Banquet to tell her story to 750 guests, and incidentally she travelled to London from Norwich on her own without the need of her wheelchair, and all this from someone who doctors had confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She told her story and a new scholarship was nearly funded from that dinner alone. She had been to America without the "cotton-wooling" of her parents, she had gained the freedom of the skies.

We, with your help, can make this happen again. Not only to other 'Julies' but in some other, but equally important way, to a smaller selection of the community.

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