Olympic Airspace cleared to Aviate | Navigate | Communicate with Ade Adepitan.
On SATURDAY 12th MAY 2012 Freedom in the Air (FITA) will be giving a flying lesson to Ade Adepitan. FITA’s founder and co-chairman first met Ade during a wheelchair basketball training session with the Raiders team in West London. Both men have a deep understanding of how important voluntary organisations are in the world today.
In 1976 when Ade was three years old. His parents made the brave decision to leave their family in Nigeria, and move to the UK. They settled in Plaistow East London. Moving to the UK was one of the most important events in Ade Adepitan’s life. He was taught how to walk using iron calipers, which he wore until the age of 17. Despite having Polio, Ade loved playing football with his school friends. He spent his early years dreaming of playing football for England. Having survived polio as a youngster, Ade has gone on to compete as a wheelchair basketball player on an international level and has a wealth of TV presenting experience.
Ade discovered wheelchair basketball when he was twelve, after being spotted by two Physiotherapists. They saw Ade as he was pushed through the streets of Plaistow in a Tesco’s shopping trolley by his friends. The shopping trolley was one of Ade’s favourite modes of transport at the time, as it was the only way he could keep up with his friends. Owen McGhee, and Kay Owen, we’re both Physiotherapists who worked in East London. Their Philosophy was to teach young disabled children in the area, how to be independent using sport. After taking Ade to Stokemandeville in Buckinghamshire, they introduced him to wheelchair basketball. From that moment Ade had one burning ambition, to win a medal in the Paralympics for Great Britain.
2012 sees Ade spearheading all things Olympic / Paralympic. Ade is fronting BBC The One Show’s coverage in the lead up to the Games, through a series of films and studio appearances for the flagship show. He is also currently filming Series 4 of That Paralympic Show for Channel 4; a 10 part magazine series which showcases everything in Parasport.
An instantly recognisable face, Ade appeared in the high profile idents for BBC1 and presented BBC’s daily X-Change programme for five years. Other credits include Tiger Tiger for Channel Five, where Ade reported on endangered species from around the globe. Highlights included riding elephants while looking for tigers in India and swimming with sharks in Australia, while personal triumphs included overcoming his fear of water and night walks in the depths of the African jungle.
Ade has done a number of high profile public speaking engagements including the launch of the 2012 Olympic bid at the Royal Opera House alongside Tony Blair. He works extensively in the UK giving motivational speeches to schools, charities and businesses including The Royal Mail, BUPA, NSPCC, Lloyds TSB and BT. In January 2005, Ade performed a poem with Stephen Fry detailing the plight of children with disabilities at The Holocaust Memorial in Westminster Abbey in front of the Queen and other luminaries. In such a short life, Ade has achieved more than men twice his age. What is there left for him to try and challenge him to extend his personal boundaries? We know he likes to play tennis early in the morning but he has now discovered learning to flying. On Saturday May 12th, 2012, he will come to Cranfield Airport and have his first flying lesson at Freedom in the Air (FITA). An advanced flight training centre specifically for people with disabilities.
FITA is a unique and exciting aviation Not-for-profit Community Interest Company, committed to opening horizons for people with disabilities so that they can fly higher socially, physically and professionally. FITA founder Gautam Lewis, has weathered and survived more storms than most. Abandoned as a baby after contracting polio he was taken to Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. After managing high profile musicians such as Pete Doherty, he set up FITA to show people that disability is not a barrier to achievement.
“I thought maybe I should do something positive about supporting people with disabilities, help them learn new skills and push them to a new level of confidence so that they can have opportunities.
“It’s trying to show what we can do regardless of disability.”
Donald Putnam, chief flying instructor at FITA, said:
“Both myself and our organisation are keen to support the promotion of aviation to disabled people. We are happy to do as much as we can to help disabled people become pilots. As an instructor, I am naturally keen to encourage anyone to learn to fly.”
Together we intend to show that anyone can reach for the skies, and achieve virtually anything, sometimes with only the very smallest amount of support. Let talent fly.
FITA Press office: firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 7980 315 720
Joanne Loughrey | John Noel: Joanne@johnnoel.com / +44 (0) 20 7428 8400