News

Project Limitless comes to an end

The Douglas Bader Foundation’s appeal for Project Limitless will be ending as of 31st October 2023.

The aim of Project Limitless was to provide every child who needed one, access to a prosthetic arm.​ It was a bold ambition, but one that Koalaa, along with the Douglas Bader Foundation worked hard to accomplish. Those aims have now been met so the appeal is ending.

The appeal, which was launched in December 2020 has raised over £600,000 and enabled over 600 children to receive a prosthetic arm.

The Douglas Bader Foundation would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the individuals, trusts, rotary groups, businesses and organisations who have so generously donated and supported the appeal and helped to make it an overwhelming success.

Many people had donated through the appeal web page set up through Enthuse.

https://douglasbaderfoundation.enthuse.com/cf/limittless-project

This page will be removed after the 31st October. Anyone who has set up regular donations or standing orders will be contacted and notified of the change.

You can find out more about Project Limitless through the Koalaa website:

https://www.yourkoalaa.com/projectlimitless

Project Limitless Campaign to raise a further £250,000

Project Limitless Campaign – Providing soft shell prosthetic arms for UK children

The response to our Project Limitless fundraising campaign exceeded all expectations. We are deeply grateful to all who supported the appeal with such wholehearted generosity.

Project Limitless Campaign Background:

In 2020 the Coronavirus put additional strain on the NHS resulting in children under 9 having long waits for a prosthetic arm. Our aim with Project Limitless was to minimise the impact on children by supplying them with a prosthetic arm completely free.

Thanks to your generosity, every day of this year one child with upper limb difference has received support through Project Limitless, with a growing waiting list. Project Limitless has provided them with a revolutionary new tech prosthetic; one that is easy to wear, soft to the touch and grows with the child adapting to their changing needs such as eating, riding a bike, playing an instrument and even surfing! We were able to avoid the need for hospital visits as the children received their new prosthetics through the post thereby taking pressure off the NHS. Each child has also been provided with peer-to-peer support, with limb buddies guiding them through their journey every step of the way.

However in 2021, it has become apparent through the significant amount of requests we have received from parents, that Project Limitless needs to expand its remit – to increase our beneficiaries’ age range from age 3 – 9  to 3 – 18 in the UK.

The adolescent years are where new sporting activities, music and self image all become crucial to development and mental wellbeing. The provision of a soft shell prosthetic arm to young people in this category would enable them to take part in these and other activities, giving them more social contact and enhancing their self confidence.

To achieve this, we need your support to continue to create a more accessible world for this higher age group with limb differences.

The Project Limitless Campaign is therefore aiming to raise a further £250,000 over the coming months.

We have so many more children we want to provide for.

 “Help us to help them” Sir Douglas Bader

Donate now

Bader Grant recipient and award-winning British start-up company Koalaa teamed up with charities focusing on children with upper limb impairment: The Douglas Bader Foundation; REACH; LimBo and LimbPower.

 

 

 

 

 

Bader’s Bus Company – the first disabled display team

Bader’s Bus Company is the first British air display team featuring disabled pilots

The team, created in memory of the World War 2 Spitfire ace and double amputee Sir Douglas Bader enjoyed their first performance at Blackbushe airfield on September 5th 2019.

The date marks the anniversary of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader’s death and David Bickers CEO of the foundation states that “He could not have be more excited about the prospect”. David continues “We can think of no better way to honour his memory” he also adds that he is certain that the creation of the first British air display team is a legacy of which Douglas would have been extremely proud’.

The project was the brainchild of Charley Bickers the Grandson of Sir Douglas Bader and it has been three years in the making. “Big Ideas don’t happen overnight, and this is a very ambitious project” Charley explained. “Even just selecting the pilots has been a long process.”

Bader's Bus Co.

The team are currently performing at airshows throughout the UK.  They are very reliant on the support of the British public and sponsorship.  It is so important that they remain in the air and continue their work inspiring others and demonstrating what disabled individuals are capable of.

If you are able to support these extraordinary disabled pilots then please visit their Virgin Giving page and donate to their incredible cause.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/badersbuscompany

Keep up to date with all Bader’s Bus Co activities through our News and Events pages.

Bader Braves : Are you ready for adventure?

Bader Braves offers unique experiences and life improving new skills to kids.

The Bader Braves initiative offers support, friendship and unique experiences to children affected by limb loss or any other form of disability. We offer a range of exciting and challenging activities aimed at improving life skills, creating bonds and increasing confidence.

Over The Wall

New for 2020!, The DBF has partnered with activity organisers Over the Wall to expand the range of activities and locations we can offer to children.

Over the Wall

Young Aviators Days

A big part of Bader Braves is the Young Aviators Days which provide youngsters from 6-18 with limb deficiency and other disabilities with the opportunity of experiencing flight in a light aircraft. This incredibly popular and successful venture is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year! We continue to enlist the support of new airfields in different parts of the country so that we can offer this unique opportunity to more youngsters.

Young Aviators Days

Adventure and Challenges

As well as our Young Aviators Days, we organise diverse adventures and challenges for our Braves such as Adventure Weekends with the Calvert Trust at their wonderful venues in Exeter and Kielder, as well as Sailing, Go-Karting, Fishing and Canal Boat Trips. We are always looking to add new adventures and welcome suggestions. We would be delighted to receive your input. Please keep checking the Events Page for updates and information. Most activities can easily be applied for via our online forms.

Adventures and Challenges



Donate to The Bader Braves

As always, the DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION relies almost entirely on fund-raising to survive and to continue to assist amputees and other disabled and we would be delighted to hear from anyone with ideas, fund-raising or otherwise, to support this venture.

You can help to be a part of improving the lives of these brave kids by giving a donation, using the link below:

Checkout

Listen out for Bader’s Big Band

The first ever Big Band consisting almost entirely of disabled musicians

Bader's Big Band
The Douglas Bader Foundation is very proud of the successful ‘Bader’s Big Band’ initiative.
This ambitious project founded the first ever Big Band consisting almost entirely of musicians from the UK with a physical disability or diagnosed mental health condition. The Band have performed at concerts, airshows, festivals and private events. There has been nothing like it!

Find out more about Bader’s Big Band

Find all the latest Bader’s Big Band’s performance in our events list

Bader Grants could help you

The DOUGLAS BADER GRANT SCHEME provides practical support for the pursuance of achievements by those with disabilities.

This initiative assists individuals with disabilities as well as groups and small businesses working with and supporting those individuals throughout the UK to achieve a variety of goals in diverse areas ranging from education, the arts, sport and recreation.

We look at all applications and, depending on the nature of the request, the scheme may help towards or provide the equipment, training, services, further education or other practical support required by the successful applicant.

Find out more about Bader Grants

Guy Farley : Legacy : Music inspired by Sir Douglas Bader

Guy Farley is a British musician and composer based in London. He is a film composer whose work includes orchestral scores, world music, contemporary sound design and has also collaborated with pop artists and producers.

In 2018 Guy composed a musical tribute to Sir Douglas Bader entitled Legacy. In partnership with the Douglas Bader Foundation, Legacy pays tribute to Sir Douglas Bader, and all those who have overcome disabilities in their lives.

In writing Legacy, Guy is composing a piece of music not simply about Douglas Bader and his journey, but about a person’s journey with disability, and that universal human struggle against adversity. It is inspired by the heritage and sounds of the Second World War, and captures the essence of Bader’s life with disability.

By bringing in the sounds of the Battle of Britain, like the famous air-raid siren and the scramble-bell which sent pilots into action, and alluding to the famous songs of the era like It’s a long way to Tipperary, Guy expects Legacy to immerse the listener in a story, and accentuate its drama.

Bader Bus Co

Bader’s Bus Company

Music from Legacy was used to accompany a touring air-show put on by the Douglas Bader Foundation called The Bader Bus co, in which the world’s first team of disabled pilots fly in formation, conquering their own disabilities, and pay tribute to the late Sir Douglas.

Legacy CD

This very special Limited Edition ‘Legacy EP’ was composed by leading British composer Guy Farley and recorded by The London Chamber Orchestra in Abbey Road. The Music was created both to commemorate the extraordinary life of the Second World War hero Sir Douglas Bader and also to accompany the inspiring air display performances of Bader’s Bus Company – The First British disabled air display team.

All proceeds from the sale of this unique and collectable EP will go towards the Douglas Bader Foundation.

We have a limited selection of signed and unsigned copies to choose from.

Signed CD : £20 + P&P
Unsigned CD : £15 + P&P
P&P : £1.80 UK – £3 international


A special visit

In February 1993, I was asked by the then Limb Centre ‘boss lady’ if I would attend the official opening of the BADER CENTRE. I didn’t really want to, it was on Thursday February 25th and I was going to play indoor croquet so I said “must I?” The ‘boss lady’ then said “well I need you to be there”, to which I replied “why?”, “because you can converse with ANYONE” she replied. “And if I tell you who that ANYONE is you might change your mind.” “Go on then”, I said, slightly grumpily by now, because I really didn’t want to go. Until Margaret Dangoor (the boss lady) said the ANYBODY will be HRH The Princess of Wales. Well I just said “Oh well that’s different, you are definitely on.”

The day came and we were ‘strategically’ sat in particular places, upstairs in the Bader Centre, some on exercise machines, and some at tables with Chess, Shove ha’penny or draughts boards on them. I was at a chess board with a fellow amputee Hans GtH4aeh, a highly educated German Jew who had fled Germany with his parents in 1933.

The princess arrived and started walking around but before she arrived at our table I said to Hans “let’s play a game”. He said he couldn’t because as he found chess so exciting it gave him heart palpitations (He was 75 then!). So I said “well come on let us put the pieces over the board to make it look as though there is a game in progress.

Well, then Princess Diana, arrived at our table and the three of us ‘sort of rose and said “Good morning Ma’am”, she ALMOST ‘rebuked’ us for even trying! Then she said, “Is this game really in progress or is it just set out for my benefit?” So I said “Ma’am you are very perceptive, it is set out to make you think we’re playing but we’ve had so much to talk about on this day.” With that she pulled the chair back opposite me and sat down. I then said, “Do you play Chess?” “No” she said, “but I wish I could.”

I paused for a ‘millisecond’ then to allow the other two to say something, but they didn’t and I didn’t want her to move on, so I quickly said “I believe that to play chess and enjoy it you have to have started when a child as I did – do you play croquet?” “Oh yes” she said “in my family if you cannot beat them you have to join them”
Then the conversation continued on other subjects, like, The Bader Centre, and being disabled etc. etc., until the Admiral Sir Michael Adeane leant forward from behind her and said “Ma’am, you really haven’t got time to have a chess match with these gentlemen we must keep going.” “Oh must we” she said, rising from her chair and with very happy handshakes and farewells to the three of us – she was gone. SHE WAS A LOVELY LADY

Walking the Great Wall of China

Walking the Great Wall of Chinaby Kiera Roche

DAY 1 – FROM LOTUS POND VILLAGE TO MUTAINYU GREAT WALL. (10 KILOMETERS)

We woke at a reasonable hour, I slide in and out of the bathroom with no major catastrophes and proceeded to dress. It was at this point that I discover the C-Leg had been unplugged during the night and was not charged. We later discover that the hotel staff unplug the electrical devices whilst they prepare the rooms. Fortunately I had brought a spare leg with me, so I popped this on and left the C-leg charging while we enjoyed breakfast.

After breakfast we jumped on the bus for a transfer to the village of Lotus Pond (30 km / 40 minutes approx.) where we started our warm up trek along a country lane. En route we catch our first views of the magnificent Great Wall of China at close range. After 1½ hours we ascend approximately 400 metres to the Wall. It is a difficult climb, with a hairy moment when Cathy was nearly knocked off the path by a donkey that thought she was in his way, but once on top the views were absolutely stunning. The first thing you notice, or at least the first thing, which impacted upon me apart from the stunning vistas were the steps. You go up steps on the approach, and when you get to the top there are more steps, and when you get to the top of those steps, there are even more steps. So you get up on the wall for the first time, with the route spread before you, and Oh No!! Its all steps! Steps up the
hill, towards the first watch tower, then steps down the hill, and up again towards the next. So there you have it a series of undulating stretches of wall from one watch tower to the next completely made up of…. you guessed it STEPS!.

This would be a test for any able-bodied person let alone an above knee amputee. It will be interesting to see how the new leg and I cope with this. So off we set along this undulating rollercoaster of wall amidst some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. At the end of the day it was possible to descend from the Wall on a mile-long toboggan, by cable car, or on foot for half an hour. I of course being a “speed demon” opted for the “Death Slide” toboggan run. A quick twist of the knee rotator so that I could adjust to a shape which would fit inside the toboggan comfortably, eyes shut and vocal chords open and we’re down in minutes. This was the best ride I’ve been on for years and I was quite pleased that the discussion about the toboggan being a second hand import from Europe didn’t ensue until I was safely at the bottom. Today we managed to negotiate 14 watch towers and walk a distance of 10km which was fantastic, but my muscles were keen to let me know how they felt about the experience. I was delighted that I had made it through the first day in tact. It was my left leg which took the impact of the day, but fortunately I had my Radium B to keep my leg in working order. Only a few sores so all in all a good day. It is worth noting that I would not have been able to ascend via the toboggan if I had not had a rotator in my knee: another plus for the C-Leg.

DAY 2 – BLACK DRAGON PAW PARK

I woke up this morning and everything ached, stump, back, knee, calf muscle etc…Today we had the day off hiking up and down steps or so we thought. Instead we paid a visit to the highest waterfall in the Beijing province at Black Dragon Paw Park. On route to the Park we passed the hills called Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon.

There’s a long climb to the top where the waterfall was and to my dismay, there were even steeper steps than the day before on the Great Wall. Over 120 of them to reach the pool above the waterfall. As you approach the top the steps become smaller and more crooked, when you think you have almost arrived there is an added challenge of winding your way through an obstacle course in the form of a tunnel, with a step ladder winding upwards. I wasn’t sure how I was going to negotiate this, so I simply put one foot in front of the other and hauled myself upwards. Finally some more steps, and there is the waterfall. A nice break and some doorstop sandwiches for lunch and we’re off again. Some of the other highlights of the day were trying to leap across stepping-stones, which were 2 foot apart, to get across a stretch of ice-cold water. After lunch we headed up a road, which was the remains of a stream bed. This was a fairly flat, but still uphill route and negotiating the small stones and grooves put a lot of pressure on my stump. I decided to be sensible and not walk too far, although I still did a full hour and a half. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t go further, but I wanted to be sensible and rest the stump before I did any irreversible damage. I realized that on the downward slope I could use the knee as though I was descending steps leg over leg. I feel that I am learning a lot about the capability of the C-Leg, which will help me to negotiate different terrains. Well at least I am getting some great practice at walking up, and especially walking down steps, and I feel I have made a breakthrough, you have no choice but to practice walking down steps leg over leg and this for me is quite an achievement.

Once back at the hotel I swapped legs and left the C-Leg charging while I went off to dinner/ I arrived back to the room to discover that the c-leg had been unplugged. It is fortunate that I discovered this or I would have had to walk the next day in my spare leg. Teena is having slightly different problems to me, but I think we are both finding the sheer volume of steps a challenge.

DAY 3 – GREAT WALL AT GUBAIKOU (UNRESTORED SECTION) 5 HOURS TREKKING APPROX

Today, the guides decided that it may prove a little difficult for some amongst us since it included a hike through a dense forest area, and they were not happy about one or all of us potentially having an accident by getting a foot caught. So it was decided that whilst those more able bodied amongst us began walking from one end of the wall we would go to the other end and meet them in the middle, then all walk back to our end again together. The reason the team who had traversed through the forest couldn’t walk along the wall initially was that this part of the wall is actually a Chinese Military Base. So whilst some of the party scrambled through forests, we headed off to one end of the wall and began walking towards our meeting point. It was felt that we wouldn’t be able to meet the others until after lunch because of the difficulty of some of the terrain. This part of the wall is very derelict not so much of a walk as a real climbing and clambering experience. It was less strenuous on the legs, because you had to pull and heave yourself around things using your arms. It was much more difficult mentally, in that I kept thinking, I could easily fall here and really hurt myself”. The downhill bits however were still hard work. We arrived at the lunch spot 2 hours before the rest of the party. For me this has been the best day so far as I felt I had already achieved a lot by pushing myself physically. It took us only 1-½ hours to reach the rendezvous point and the eagerly anticipated fried egg doorstep sandwich with cheese for lunch. I also managed through my negotiation skills to end up with 3 Wagon Wheels. Once again, today as I reported yesterday I found myself walking downwards leg over leg this time not on steps but undulating slopes with only slight support from one of the helpers another gratifying outcome of the walk.

A lot of the watch towers are full of plants up to eye level and if you need to pee this is probably the ideal place to do it since there’s no way off the wall and even if there was there wouldn’t be anywhere to go anyway. It feels like your peeing in a part of a great palace garden. Sorry just thought I would share that with you. We had excellent support from the local farmers today. When we arrived at this section of the wall we were informed that the local farmers would offer to carry our packs for us. For a days work in the field a farmer would be paid 50 Yuan (approximately £4.50). It was suggested that we could pay them the same to carry your packs for the day. If we had not had this help from the locals today’s challenge would have been even more difficult as we needed our hands free to pull ourselves up and the grip onto the wall as we descended the steep slopes. Today we climbed 16 towers and I made it in one piece. There is a quick transfer to the next hotel. This evening we were staying at the Simatai Lodge. You can see the high peaks of the wall from the hotel, and they look like great dark mountains, tomorrow we are all going up there for another physically challenging day. For the moment I’m just enjoying the company some wonderful Chinese Pears and a very nice glass of wine, well, you have to fortify yourself for the morrow now, don’t you!

GREAT WALL AT JINSHANLING 6-7 HOURS TREKKING APPROX.

The Great Wall at Jinshanling dates back to the Ming Dynasty and today this would be our start and finish point on the great wall. From September through to late October the days are still warm and bright, and you need to make certain you drink plenty of water. There’s some display of colour in the trees, and the Persimmons will still be glowing on the bare branches of orchards in the area. You will see them being harvested by a farmer with a sharp knife on a broom handle reaching up, and someone else below catching the falling fruit in an apron. Look, too, as you pass the Miyun reservoir on the way, for fishermen who have dragged their boats to the side of the road, filled them with water, and have signs up which say ‘huo yu’ (‘live fish’). The fish are swimming around inside the boats.

Today we are walking from the hotel at 200 meters to 700 meters. The climb to the start of the wall is on a flat incline which tales about 40 minutes to ascend. I can really feel the strain on my calf and ankle today. About half way up the path I have to stop and put on an extra stump sock, which is generating a lot of interest from the locals. We reach the top to discover that we need to descend the wall, almost the full 500 meters to reach the iron suspension bridge, which hung across small canyon with about a 100m-drop to a river below. A little bit wobbly and scary if you’ve never been on a suspension bridge for people before. On the other side there was a very steep climb up a series of at least 4 iron ladders and that was extremely hard work. Finally up on the wall we covered at least 6 of the towers before we stopped for lunch. Then we all turned around and went back the way we had just come.

Of course going down the ladders was no less simple than getting up them in the first place. Whilst we had been on the wall at one of the towers there had been a very mixed international film crew making some kind of Japanese film. We were a little surprised since we had not seen any other tourists on the wall thus far, and they were a little surprised to suddenly find themselves in the company of a group of people with limbs missing. The manager of the Great Wall asked permission to take a picture of my new leg and I was happy to oblige, it’s not everyday he sees something as unusual as us either. Well I’ve had another great day and its time now to relax and talk with the rest of the group about the experiences of the day over a few glasses of wine. See you tomorrow.

GREAT WALL AT SIMATAI – 8 KILOMETERS. 4-5 HOURS TREKKING APPROX.

We started today on the same road as yesterday walking from the hotel at 200 meters above sea level to 980 meters at the highest point. We followed the same 40-minute uphill walk to the start of the wall. When we reached the wall we stopped for a quick ice cream instead of turning left and heading for the suspension bridge as we had on the previous day we turned right and headed towards the tallest towers. Some of these towers were incredible steep and exhausting to climb. The fitter members of the group quickly faded into spots on the horizon. We proceeded slowly to the rest stop and waited for the other more enthuastic climbers to join us.

We descended the other side of the wall through the jungle to the local village. James and I led the group (I would like you to think this is because we were the fastest to descend, but is because we were the first on our feet) I really enjoyed descending to the village through the jungle, although this was hard work and quite difficult terrain I felt that I was physically pushing myself. I did have a couple of hairy moments where rocks gave way under my feet but I only slipped once and James was there to catch me. We reached the village and were invited into the local farmers homes to see how they lived. We were invited to take them gifts to say thank you for opening their homes, but we were told not to give them money. We spent about 15 minutes in the village and then headed back up the hill to the Great Wall. This was quite a trek, but as it was the last day and everyone was buzzing it seemed as though the time just flew past. When we reached the wall we had a rest stop, bartered for some t-shirts and then headed back down the hill to the hotel to cross the finish line. This was an immensely rewarding and emotional experience and one I shall never forget. The moment was topped with Chinese fireworks and a bottle of sparking wine.