A young aspiring pilot from Diss received a prestigious bursary to help him achieve a high-level qualification in gliding.
Ed Eveson, 18, a sixth-form pupil at Wymondham High Academy, was awarded the Bramson Bursary, a £500 scholarship presented annually to budding air sport enthusiasts aged between 16 and 21, on behalf of the Royal Aero Club Trust.
Ed, who first started gliding at the age of 13, said: “This was a really nice surprise.
“It’s a very exciting time for me and it opens up a lot of opportunities, so I am really grateful to have been given this bursary.”
Ed first experienced gliding as part of his activities with the Diss Air Cadets group, prompting him to join Norfolk Gliding Club in Tibenham at age 16.
He proceeded to attain his Solo Endorsement and Bronze Badge qualifications while completing his GCSE and AS level exams, respectively.
“When I was a kid, I always saw the gliders over my house, because I’m only five minutes away from the club,” said Ed.
“That was definitely what got me interested. I knew from a young age that I could never do a ‘normal’ career.”
The money from the Bramson Bursary will help fund Ed’s training for his Silver Badge in gliding, which involves mastering advanced manoeuvres and carrying out both a 50km glide and a five-hour endurance flight.
This qualification will enable him to take part in competitive gliding tournaments with other clubs.
After finishing his A-levels later this summer, Ed plans to apply for a place on the British Airways Future Pilot Programme, set up in conjunction with CTC Aviation in Southampton.
In the past, those accepted into this programme have gone on to earn a job as a commercial airline pilot.
“I have had the ambition to be a pilot since I was eight years old,” Ed added.
“All these positive steps I’ve had lately, including getting this bursary, are reaffirming to me that this is definitely what I want to do.
“Obviously, the competition to be a commercial pilot is very stiff, but hopefully all the things I have done will stand me in good stead.”