Pauline wins new honour

A Cumbernauld pilot has won an award named after the disabled man who became Britain’s most famous wartime air ace.

Local air cadet flying officer Pauline Gallagher has won the very first Sir Douglas Bader Memorial Award from the organisation Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.

Pauline, 38, who was born with cerebral palsy, shares the accolade jointly with civilian instructor Sean Allerton, from down south, who is tetraplegic.

The newly-commissioned award, a bronze bust of Sir Douglas, was presented to the pair for their work helping disabled people to fly over the past ten years.

It recognises exceptional commitment of the sort exemplified by the illustrious fighter pilot during the Second World War.

The RAF hero insisted on waging war against the Nazis despite having lost both legs in an accident eight years earlier.

The disabled flier was lethally effective, and even after he was shot down and captured made several escape attempts.

The unique award accolade named in his memory is awarded for outstanding service and achievement through volunteering.

It recognises those who assist others to overcome their disability, and also the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis.

Pauline and Sean also encourage the disabled scholars through their flying training, where the scholars gain a flying scholarship that can lead to a private pilot’s licence.

Flight lieutenant Stevie Cairns, officer commanding 2496 (Cumbernauld) Squadron Air Cadets said: ”When the award was announced my warrant officer (ATC) Jim Thompson and I cheered with joy and were probably more excited than Pauline.

“We are all extremely proud of Pauline and admire her for the barriers she has to overcome in her everyday life – and are delighted she has been recognised for all of her hard work in helping disabled people to learn to fly”.

Pauline is an RAFVR(T) officer, serving with 2496 (Cumbernauld) Squadron, Air Training Corps as Squadron Adjutant, where she is extremely active.

The Cumbernauld squadron meets at the TA Centre, Glencryan Road, every Monday and Thursday at 7.30pm till 9.30pm.

For further information call 01236 451070 (Monday and Thursday evenings).