Read our flier Mark Sines' story - his long journey from ex-soldier to pilot

Since I was a small child I had always wanted to learn to fly and wanted to join the Navy as a helicopter pilot, however, due to being diagnosed with dyslexia later in life, I could not meet the grades to join the Navy, and so joined the Army instead as a soldier.

I served in the Army in Northern Ireland and in 1985, whilst on my 4th tour, I had to jump from a Lynx helicopter with full equipment. I damaged my lower spine and both knees and was airlifted back to the UK where I spent two years having further treatment at Headley Court, I was later discharged from the Army on medical grounds.

In 2010 my lower and part of my upper spine collapsed causing me to be paralysed from the waist down and after four major operations and two years learning to walk again, I am left with intermittent paralysis in both legs which can cause me to lose the power in my legs for a short period of time. 

I became very depressed and lost my job as no one at the time would employ me due to my condition. I had to give up kayaking, both sea and white water, and was told by many medical practitioners that I would never be able to fly a plane.  

Around this the time my wife found an advert for Aerobility, as she knew about my love for flight, and after a trial flight with Christine Stopher, Christine asked me why I wasn't learning to fly. 

I told her that I was told I could never fly and she told me that, apart from the take off and landing, I was flying the plane!

The rest is history as on the 26th of March I proved all those doctors wrong -that a disabled ex-soldier with spinal issues can fly and gain his pilots licence. 

It's taken two and a half years of hard work to get to this stage in my life and every time I'm up in the plane on my own, it is just me and there's nobody telling me that I cannot do this. It's a sense of freedom, and for once in my life I have control of something that does not have control of me. 

If it was not for my wife, the support of my family and the organisations who helped with funding my dream, I would not have been able to do this and achieve my childhood dream.

Finally, my goal all the way through my training has been to complete it, gain my licence and fly my wife to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight to visit her daughter who lives there with her husband as a massive thank you for all her support and most of all believing in me. 

Laura Neaves