A GROUP of wheelchair users are hoping to set an ambitious world record by pitting their strength against a Boeing 757.

The attempt by the 25-strong team to pull the 57-tonne aeroplane down a runway will be the first of its kind.

It's also a fundraising endeavour in aid of the British Disabled Flying Association (BDFA), which helps disabled people and terminally ill children learn to fly.

Part of the group is Barry O'Connell from Saxsted Drive in Clacton, who is looking forward to the big day on September 6 at Lasham Airfield.

"The group has already had a trial run which went very well," said the 61-year-old who became disabled after an accident three years ago.

"I think it'll be hard to start off with but once we get the plane rolling it'll be fine - it's a question of momentum and putting your mind to it.

"Luckily I do a lot of exercise anyway - I used to be in the forces so I was mega fit before my accident."

He added: "I'm just wondering what'll happen if the plane takes off - it'll be like Mary Poppins!"

Every pound raised through the charity event will help a disabled person or terminally ill child to fly a plane.

Barry stressed how important the cause was.

"The BDFA gives disabled people wings," he said.

"Seeing the world from the sky is an excellent source of rehabilitation and life achievement."

But he doesn't plan on taking the controls of a cockpit himself.

"They wouldn't let me up in a plane - I'm bad enough in my wheelchair," he said.

If you'd like to sponsor Barry, visit the Just Giving site below.

For more information about the British Disabled Flying Association, see below.