A special portable sling that aids air travel for disabled passenger has been chosen by easyjet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, as the victor of his Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018, in partnership with Leonard Cheshire.
At a ceremony in London, Ablemove’s founder, Josh Wintersgill, a cyber-security manager from Bristol, was awarded the prestigious £30,000 prize by Sir Stelios.
Wintersgill said he created the Ablemove sling so people with reduced mobility can transferred safely, comfortably and with dignity to and from aeroplane seats.
Wintersgill, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, said he faces many physical challenges himself but is determined to help disabled people overcome the difficulties associated with travel.
On being chosen by Sir Stelios, Wintersgill said: “I’m overwhelmed with emotion. It’s a credit to the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire for making this happen each year.
“Ablemove now has the best possible start to its mission of improving accessible air travel for people with reduced mobility.”
CEO of Leonard Cheshire, Neil Heslop, said: “Congratulations to Josh and indeed to all this year’s candidates. The record number of applications proves how much passion, talent and innovation lies in the disabled community around the UK.
“Whilst many are following their dreams, it’s also important to recognise that some disabled people pursue the entrepreneurial route not only because they have great ideas, but also because they face significant barriers to employment.
“As well as inspiring others, these awards remind us that there are different ways of working, and show employers the talent they are missing.”
Sir Stelios said: “I am delighted for Josh and Ablemove being the overall winner this year. I think his invention can help many people travel with more dignity and comfort.’
“I wish him the best of luck as he will trying to scale up his business to serve the 1.3 million passengers of reduced mobility travelling in and out of the UK each year and many more all over the world.”