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The Ablemove seat

The ablemove seat on a plane next to a passenger who is about to use it
The ablemove seat on a plane next to a passenger who is about to use it Image credit: bristolpost.co.uk

For some disabled travellers boarding and exiting a plane can be difficult but Joshua Wintersgill has come up with a solution.

The entrepreneur from Bristol is in the running for an award after being nominated by Leonard Cheshire and Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Living with spinal muscular atrophy Joshua launched Ablemove in February 2018 to save people like himself having to wait for special assistant at airports.

Described as a product “between a sling and a seat” the gizmo can hoist people from their wheelchairs to their seat on the plane.

Joshua told BristolLive: “It allows you to have that freedom of not having to worry.

“There’s a cushion so you remain comfortable when you’re on the plane and from personal experience getting on and off those aisle chairs is so uncomfortable that having support under you is going to make that whole transition and flying experience much more enjoyable.

“Having first-hand experience of what problems people go through when flying with reduced mobility, I know that I could make a significant impact.

"Society is slowly changing and becoming more adaptive through innovation, just not at the speed it should be.”

Being one of the five finalists for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs Wintersgill has already won £10,000 and is in the running for the grand prize of £30,000.

Stelios said: “This job gets infinitely more difficult by the year. I’m very grateful to Leonard Cheshire and their judging panel for taking on this task and coming up with a shortlist of outstanding entrepreneurs.

“Now it’s down to me and my fellow trustees to select one absolutely stand-out entrant to receive the top prize of £30,000. I know it will be a difficult choice.”

The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs was launched in 2006.