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Lifelong flying dream set to take off for Holm woman living with MS

Hayley Budge who is now seeing her ambitions to become a fully-fledge pilot get off the tarmac. (Orkney Photographic)

For as long as she can remember, Hayley Budge has had her head in the clouds, dreaming of becoming a pilot.

But her ambitions to fly high all came crashing down when she was given the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS).

But, a decade on since that devastating news, her dreams of reaching the skies have now taken off once more, thanks to a unique scholarship which offers people with disabilities the opportunity to begin a new life in the air.

“I always intended to be pilot; that was my dream at school,” explains Hayley, from Holm, just a stone’s throw away from Lamb Holm where a private airstrip is located.

“When I was 17, I went down to the south of England to get a Class 1 aviation medical, which allows you to be a commercial pilot. That was always my intention.”

Her dreams of becoming a globe-trotting pilot were turned upside down when, in 2012, she was diagnosed with MS. It was a shattering blow, and one which Hayley believed put paid to her hopes of living the jet-flying lifestyle.

“When I first got unwell, and I met a neurologist, he said to me ‘you’re young, what do you want do with your life?’

“I said I wanted to fly, and with a change of tone, he simply replied ‘you’re not going to fly’. I could tell by the tone of his voice, he meant what he said.”

MS was confirmed in the months that followed, when Hayley was just 21, seemingly grounding her hopes and dreams of becoming a pilot.

But these hopes and dreams have been reignited through Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP).

To read more of this article, and many more The Orcadian covered during MS Week, then pick up an edition today.