Our newsletter, now named "NewsLink" has been published continuously since 1997. All available issues are published here. Browse through them using the links at the bottom of the page, or use the "search..." box above to find items of interest.
Eric Spalding 09/01/1941 – 09/11/2013
Eric grew up in the Horseshoe pub, Thornton Heath with his large family - one of seven. Moved to Wallington, where he met and married Maureen (lived in same road). They had two daughters, Kim and Dawn to whom he was very close. HSP progressively affected his mobility and cognitive function (the condition only came on in his forties). He had a difficult time in later years, constantly in and out of hospital, but enjoyed a relatively normal life before that e.g. a keen DIY enthusiast.
He was sociable and loved big get-togethers with family and friends. He particularly enjoyed day trips to the seaside, pub lunches, family BBQs and weekend breaks away with his disabled swimming club. A keen Crystal Palace supporter, he relished every opportunity to watch a big game on Sky sports and occasionally went to see a live game with his friend Frank. A respected and intelligent man, he worked hard as an accountant, even when he retired he still continued to help people do their accounts. Strong work ethic, a perfectionist, a sense of pride and achievement ran through whatever he turned his mind to e.g. For the last few years he has belonged to a disabled swimming club and won cups for his achievements and also attended a gym, where he tried to keep as active as he could.
Others describe him as a gentleman, honest, kind, caring man. He did lots of voluntary work – including fundraising and treasurer for the groups he belonged to (e.g. disabled swimming club and shopmobility scheme). He loved chatting to others and banter. Made new friends very easily, was sincere and had a genuine interest in people. Appreciative of other people’s efforts, he’d go out of his way to write lengthy thank-you notes or phone calls thanking people for good service. Dad liked to vocalise his happiness, he used to stand up and publicly congratulate people for all their achievements and encourage them further. He did the same with family too.
Each year Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP) awards a special trophy, the George Stewart Memorial Trust Award, to recognise one scholar's particular efforts. Every scholar works hard during the flight training process and the benefits soon reveal themselves in each one.
Several years ago the FSDP scholar selection process took place at Biggin Hill Airport.
George Stewart was an air traffic controller at Biggin Hill at the time, and was greatly impressed by the applicants and the aims of the Charity. He left FSDP a small legacy in his will and the George Stewart Memorial Trust award was born.
However, it’s often obvious that someone in particular has come that bit further in their personal journey. During the training Trustees visit the scholars at their various flying schools and sometimes the positive change in an individual is immediately obvious, which is additionally backed by their instructor's observations.
Mark Tomlinson is one such student. He told us that prior to learning to fly, he felt invisible especially at work amongst his colleagues and bosses. Flying endows a pilot with a very special form of confidence, most adults can drive a car, but not many can fly! His determination to overcome his fears, from his HSP condition and the way it impinges on his everyday life, to finding that initial special courage to take to the air did not go unnoticed.
And in recognition of Mark's enormous mental as well as physical efforts, he was awarded the George Stewart Memorial Trust award. Mark is not longer invisible!
Susie Dunbar FSDP Trustee