Young Wheelchair Users Try Paragliding

24th November 2015

Two young Guernsey wheelchair users are getting to experience life from the skies! Matt Hale and Adie Vidamour did the first stage of their paragliding training at Flying Frenzy paragliding school in West Bexington. The temperamental weather didn’t stop them making huge strides in the sport.

By the end of the third day the boys were flying off the hill, which is what flying instructor Andrew Pearse said he would expect from an able bodied person. Andrew was contacted by the Guernsey Paragliding Club and Guernsey charity “You Can Do It” to see if he could teach the boys to paraglide in Guernsey. But Guernsey cliffs and hills are not suitable for learning to paraglide, so Matt and Adie went to learn in West Dorset.

Special buggies were set up to enable them to be assisted in take-off and they were ready to take to the skies.
Andrew said: “It’s an incredible sport really because, once you’re off the ground you’re at no disadvantage if you’re a wheelchair user. Obviously you have to be careful about landing, because you’re doing it on wheels rather than on your feet. I’ve been extremely impressed with their progress. When Adie got up into the air he was whooping with joy. It was really emotional.”

Matt and Adie had been raising money for months to buy the equipment needed. They were helped by Adie’s employers, Le Friquet Garden Centre.

Rob Bougourd, safety officer for the Guernsey Paragliding Club said: “Once they have their licences they will be able to fly here in Guernsey. I have no doubt that they will achieve it, they are both so driven. What they have achieved so far is a great credit to Adie and Matt, as well as the whole team of helpers in Dorset.