TWO young wheelchair users are getting to experience life from the skies thanks to a West Dorset paraglider.

Matt Hales, 19, and Adie Bidamour, 26, both from Guernsey, are visiting West Bexington to learn to paraglide. And the temperamental weather hasn’t stopped them making huge strides in the sport.

By the end of the third day the boys were flying off the hill, which is what instructor Andrew Pearse said he would expect from an able bodied person.

Andrew, who owns West Bexington-based Flying Frenzy, was contacted by Guernsey charity You Can Do It to see if he could teach the boys to paraglide in the Channel Islands. But the area wasn’t suitable, so with help from another charity, Flyability, Matt and Adie came 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 so impressed with their progress. When Adie got up into the air he was whooping with joy. It was really emotional.”

Rob Bougourd, safety officer for the Guernsey branch of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA), said Matt and Adie had been raising money for months to buy the equipment needed. They were helped by Adie’s employers, garden centre Le Friquet.

Rob 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 Andrew and his team in Dorset.”

The youngsters were sponsored by Flyability, which is run by the BHPA, to complete their elementary and club pilot courses.

BHPA chairman Marc Asquith said: “This is exactly what Flyability was founded to do - to ensure that our sport is open to anyone who wishes to participate.

“As in this case, we are willing to consider applications on a case by case basis and vary the scheme where appropriate.”

Visit for more details.


t: 01305 830999


twitter: @DorsetEcho