Who we are Impact I wanted to be able to get in and out of the glider We asked Owen, how he hoped the Elevate classes would help him. His answer – to get in and out of his glider! Follow that! We asked Owen to tell us his story… ‘My wife Joan and I had been married for over 62 years when she died in November 2016. She had been ill for 4 ½ years with dementia and arthritis and needed continuous care. We had help from local health professionals but I was looking after her all the time - day and night.’ ‘During this time I made sure that we had a healthy, balanced diet but as a result Joan gained weight while I lost weight and a lot of strength too,’ Owen explained. ‘I used to get exercise from gardening but when Joan was ill I didn’t like to leave her inside alone so we had to get a gardener to help.’ Following Joan’s passing, and without his life-long companion, Owen was looking for something new to focus on. He tried golf as he had played before and still had an old set of clubs. Unfortunately due to the strength he had lost over recent years, he hadn’t got the power in his arms for the swing. Owen needed to find another outlet. ‘I grew up during World War II in Cardiff and like all the boys at my grammar school, I was obsessed with military aircraft. I even remember writing a 20 page essay on this topic and I could certainly recognise every single different plane - I think this was the beginning of my passion for aviation.’ So finding himself alone, and with a huge void to fill, in January 2017 Owen went along to the Midland Gliding Club on the Long Mynd. He was 89! The gliding club were very encouraging (as was his GP as long as Owen would always be accompanied on flights) and soon Owen was a fully signed up member. Two years on Owen gets to the club two or three times a month and we asked him what he loves about gliding. ‘Initially it was all about the view, which is breath-taking, but now I am focused on being able to fly to solo standard with full control of the glider. Recently I flew the ‘golden triangle’ to Bishops Castle, Craven Arms and back to the Long Mynd.’ Owen has also been on board for a full upside down loop and told us how uncomfortable the G-Force is! He plans to do this himself when the weather conditions are right. So back to Owen’s original goal; have the Elevate classes helped him getting in and out of the glider? ‘I have definitely made progress over the last few months as a result of the Elevate classes and exercises my physiotherapist advised me to do at home. It has helped with other areas of my life too. I’m back gardening and have raised beds for vegetables and flowers. The flowers are for Joan, she loved flowers. And I feel a lot better for getting more exercise too.’ On the day we met after the weekly Elevate class, now 90 years old, Owen was off to get some new hand weights! What an inspirational gentleman.