A YOUNG woman is determined to reach for the stars despite the financial obstacles in her way.

Danni Parker, 19, of Harrington Road, Workington, has wanted to be a pilot since she was seven years old and sat in a cockpit during a holiday in Egypt.

The dream never left her but she is fast learning that being from an ordinary working family is a huge setback.

Training to be a commercial pilot can cost between £50,000 and £120,000.

It costs between £80,000 and £120,000 for integrated training,which improves job prospects, or £50 to £80,000 to do modular training which makes the timing of the training more flexible but is less popular with many airlines.

"It is not a fair system. If you are wealthy you can afford the training. If you are not, you can't."

Danni was given her first training opportunity as a birthday gift at 13.

After a couple of years her parents suggested that it would be increasingly difficult to keep funding the £300 a month needed for continued training.

"I could see that and gave up to concentrate on my GCSEs and A levels. During lockdown, though, I decided I had to get back into it.

"I got a job at Marks and Spencer and take any overtime I can get. Ninety percent of my wages go on getting my air miles up.They have been very supportive and the manager was out watching as I flew over the store this week."

She is a member of the British Women Pilots Association and Air League.

"I don't want people to think I am just moaning and not doing anything. I have applied for scholarships, written to my MP, the Minister of Transport and the Minister for Education.

"I have done everything I could think of to try and highlight the fact that the ease of getting a commercial pilot's licence depends on how much money you have."

But one thing remains certain: Somehow or the other, no matter how long it takes, Danni Parker will one day be in the cockpit of a commercial plane - not to look at it but to fly it!