Luke Sinnott, Retired Captain of the Royal Engineers and joint winner of the 2019 Soldiering On Award for Inspiration, has an incredible story to tell. Despite an IED explosion claiming both his legs and severely damaging his arms, he has represented Great Britain at the Invictus Games, and is now aiming for the 2020 Paralympics. And as if that’s not enough to make someone this awesome, Luke – a trustee and pilot for Flying for Freedom (FFF) – is planning a major expedition to the South Pole once Tokyo 2020 is done and dusted.
A sporting legend
As his shimmering gold and silver medals prove, Luke’s sporting success to date has been amazing. Not one to sit still, he’s now stepping up his campaign in preparation of the 2020 Paralympics.
“I came into para athletics four years ago and, in 2017, had my first call up for international duty in a GB top at the Para Athletics World Championships, London. I have been on the World Class program for two years, I am lined up well for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and a medal potential for Long Jump. It’s a very challenging discipline in a tough class of athletes so I have had to work very hard to stay in the top 5.”
With just over a year until the competition, it has become clear that, in order for Luke to take his prowess to the next level, he needs to spend more time training overseas and getting himself into an environment that will isolate him from distraction and prepare him for success.
To accomplish this, he faces supporting himself and a coach to relocate to the Canary Islands for up to eight weeks: four blocks of two-week sessions throughout 2020. It’s a challenging schedule, but one that Luke hopes will ensure global success.
Since turning to flight as a pathway to recovery following his horrific injuries, Luke became a founder member of Flying For Freedom, an outstanding organisation that provides recovery support to wounded, injured and sick servicemen, servicewomen and veterans through flying.
“I was only a year post injury when I met FFF in Nov 2011. They were looking to train up a group of wounded veterans for a flying expedition to the South Pole. I jumped into the challenge, prosthetic feet first and began my flying training. I found very early on that flying a Flexwing Microlight was the most fun I had ever had in an aircraft! The views and feeling of true flight were second to none.
“Of course, as a double above knee amputee I had to adapt myself and the aircraft to fly and it was incredibly straightforward in this aircraft. I realised that learning to fly and then going on expeditions was a very effective recovery pathway. To date, FFF has helped over 30 disabled veterans learn to fly – which has led to employment, improved health, and confidence to get life back on the right track.”
Luke’s intention to fly to the South Pole in two years’ time as part of the FFF team is a huge challenge, but for someone as determined and focused as Luke, it’s certainly achievable. Yet projects of that scale take more than simply grit and resolute determination – they require funding.
“Any supporter of FFF both for expeditions and training would become a part of the FFF team. They would be offered recognition on one of the aircraft and on the website; they would also receive merchandise and offers to come and fly with the team. FFF has had a lot of media interest over the years and are supported by a raft of patrons and military organisations; it is a team you would be proud to be part of!”
Inspirational on so many levels
Award-winning Luke is officially an inspiration to others – whether he’s soaring in his Microlight or literally flying through the air to beat his latest long jump record. He’s frequently called upon to give motivational talks – including at the Houses of Parliament! So what advice does he share for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or tackling a seemingly insurmountable project?
“Surround yourself with good people. You can’t devote yourself to projects unless you have good people to back up in other areas of your life.”
If you’d like to be one of the good people behind Luke’s next sporting success, please get in touch and we can point you in the right direction. Or, if you would like to support him in his Antarctica endeavour, please contact James Harris, Director, Flying For Freedom, at email@example.com.
Follow Luke’s adventures…
· Facebook: luke.sinnott.58
· Twitter: @SinnottLuke
· Instagram: sinnott.luke
· LinkedIn: Luke Sinnott
Inspired by this story?
You can help to raise someone’s profile by nominating them for a Soldiering On Award. Whether it’s an individual, charity, business or even an animal partner that improves the life of anyone within the military family, there’s a category for everyone. Check out the categories here.