A young man with learning disabilities from Worthing has fulfilled the dream of a lifetime and taken to the skies on board a helicopter.
James Jenner, who is on the autistic spectrum, and who has a passion for all things aeronautical, made the pleasure flight from Goodwood airfield.
The 20-year-old, who lives at Coneyhurst Lodge residential service in St Lawrence Avenue, was accompanied by his key worker Aimée White.
The pair enjoyed a thrilling 30-minute flight along the Hampshire and West Sussex coastline on board the G-Sunn helicopter.
“James really loves aeroplanes and helicopters and was delighted when he got the chance for a flight from Goodwood,” said Aimée.
“It was a big thing for him but he coped brilliantly and took the whole thing in his stride.
“He was a little apprehensive to begin with but once we were airborne and looking down over the sea and the countryside below he was entranced.”
James has lived at Coneyhurst Lodge since he was 18 and attends Chichester College.
His mum Jane Jenner, a Skills for Life manager at Bexhill College, said she was delighted her son was able to have the experience.
She said: “He looked a bit scared at one or two points but when he came back he was so proud at what he had managed to achieve.
“He couldn’t have done it without Aimée. She talked him through the whole thing and was there with him throughout the flight for support.
“James has always loved flying and has been to places like Spain, Portugal and Tenerife on a plane, but this was the first time he’s been on a helicopter.”
Coneyhurst Lodge is a 10-bed service that cares for adults with autism, health and physical health needs such as epilepsy.
The Regard Group, the organisation behind the service, is the UK’s fourth largest private organisation providing supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury, caring for more than 1,100 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,100 people working at 147 locations throughout the UK.
The Coneyhurst Lodge staff team focus on promoting independence, opportunities and empowerment within a safe structured environment.
The service currently has a vacancy for a first floor en-suite room with lift access and is wheelchair accessible and another due on the ground floor.
For families interested in knowing more, details are available from Theresa Cook on 07812 072043 or online at www.regard.co.uk