18 year old Ben White from Bexley doesn’t allow his disabilities to hold him back. In July 2013, Cadet Drum Major Ben completed his first flight in an aircraft through Aerobility, a charity that provides flying services for disabled people.
Taking advantage of the good weather, Ben, his instructor James Brown, and his father the Reverend Andrew White, who is also the squadron’s chaplain, took to the skies in Piper 46 for an hour long flight over Sandhurst and the local area.
The four seat P46 is a very stable aircraft and once airborne and clear of the aerodrome, Ben was given complete control of the plane, with James only resuming control to bring the aircraft into land.
The Rotary Club of Bexley covered the associated costs for the once in a lifetime experience. Rotarian Malcolm Fox said, “Bexley Rotarian’s were happy and proud to have provided Ben' with the fiscal means to undertake this flight. It is a fantastic opportunity which we hope he enjoyed and will remember!”
Ben has since won both a Jack Petchey Achievement Award and a Bexley Civic Award and was fortunate enough to meet Mr Petchey, who congratulated him on his many achievements. Both Ben and Mr Petchey attended the formal presentation of a bust of HM Queen Elizabeth II on the clock tower in Bexleyheath Market Place. The bust was created by sculptress Frances Segalman and was formally presented to the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Alan Downing at the last formal civic event of the year.
Ben eagerly waited until the end of the evening to meet Mr Petchey, who enquired about Ben’s achievements and encouraged him to continue with his current activities and keep on aspiring to achieve more.
Welling Squadron Unit leader, Flight Lieutenant Kris Cottier said, “It was very kind of Jack Petchey to take a few moments from a private evening to engage with Ben. Jack is a true hero of young people in London and without his on-going support many clubs and societies would struggle to provide the kind of activities that enable these youngsters to be outstanding achievers.”
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