ARTHUR Williams doesn’t know the meaning of the word “NO”. In fact if someone says he can’t do something, it’s likely to be just the catalyst that motivates him to do it!

And that’s exactly what happened when, as a young man growing up in Eckington near Pershore, his school mates teased him by saying he was too small to get into the Royal Marines.

It didn’t stop him, it just made him more determined to do it - which he did.

And in 2005 at the age of 18, after passing out as a commando and being awarded the King’s Badge when selected as the best all round recruit, his life was on course. His military career progressed, he loved the marines, travelling to different parts of the world and pushing himself to the limits.

Arthur doesn’t do half measures – he gives 100 per cent to everything he does.

But aged just 20 his life suffered a devastating blow when he was involved in a car crash near Pershore while on leave, which severed his spinal cord, broke his back in three places and left him paralysed from the waist down.

“My life in the marines got thrown out the window. I could not ride my motorbike and I lost my girlfriend. My health and fitness went down the pan,” said Arthur, now aged 28 and living in Aston Somerville, near Evesham.

But as he started to recover, his own passion for life and the marines mentality to keep going kicked in. “I just decided I was going to get my life back. I was still very much a young man who needed to set up a foundation for a family. I wanted to be able to support a family and do my own things like every man. The first thing I had to do was find a new vocation.”

He had envisaged coming out of the marines and becoming a mountain climbing instructor – or doing something else equally physically demanding.

But while his physical limitations narrowed his options, he was determined to do something he really enjoyed. “I did not want to be a pen pusher.”

He turned to the Yellow Pages for inspiration trying to find a suitable career. But flicking through the pages for ideas proved fruitless.

“Then I remembered what I wanted to be when I was a child – a pilot,” said Arthur showing his trademark irrepressible enthusiasm.

He knew of the legendary Second World War pilot and double amputee Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader and of the one-eyed American aviator Wiley Post who was the first pilot to fly solo around the world, so he did a Google search for disabled pilots and discovered Aerobility, a charity offering disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane.

“I never let an opportunity go,” said Arthur. “I did a trial flight with an instructor. I had my hands on the controls for the first time and I loved it.

“There is a freedom about it and a magic about it. There is something about flying that is not possible. I just fell in love.”

Arthur needed no further persuasion, he went ahead and got his national private pilot’s licence and then the international one, with the help of the British Disabled Flying Association, before building up hundreds of hours of flying time.

“The only reason I started flying was to find a career in aviation. I thought I would love to teach people to fly or I could spray crops or do air shows.” He is totally passionate about flying and this explains the plethora of aviation photographs, memorabilia and knick-knacks adoring virtually every room of his house.

“I would never have become a pilot if it had not been for the accident. Everyone has a fire inside them and what happened to me has stoked my fire.”

In 2011, his career prospects took another unexpected turn. Arthur, who had always been a keen sportsman and competed professionally in both wheelchair racing and handcycling – winning the Birmingham wheelchair marathon - after his accident, discovered Channel 4 wanted to recruit disabled presenters for its coverage of the 2012 Paralympics.

He sent in a three-minute clip on wheelchair racing and he was selected. In fact he was so successful as a Paralympic presenter that he continued working with Channel 4 presenting the Sochi Winter Paralympics in 2014 and has also presented documentaries on aviation and military history.

He continues to work for Channel 4 and, in the summer of 2013, Arthur was a presenter for the widely acclaimed two-part series D-Day As It Happened and followed this with a documentary called The Plane That Saved Britain, which focused on the Second World War plane the Mosquito.

“I had a dream as a boy of flying a Mosquito and in 2013 I achieved it,” he said rightly satisfied.

In 2014 Arthur did a documentary called WWI’s Forgotten Heroes about the experiences of the two million British soldiers who sustained life changing injuries and disabilities in World War One and in March this year reported live from Leicester Cathedral for the re-interment of King Richard III – being within touching distance of the King’s coffin.

Later this year his three-part series called Flying to the Ends of the Earth, which sees him fly to some of the world’s smallest and most dangerous landing strips to find out why people want to live at the ends of the earth, will be aired on Channel 4.

Arthur has an unquenchable thirst for life and particularly flying, and therefore it is no surprise to find that, alongside his day job, he has been renovating, upgrading and adapting a vintage aircraft he bought three years ago.

“I wanted to fly a tail wheeled aeroplanes – older planes. Vintage aircraft are quite hard to pilot because they are more unstable than modern ones.

“I bought a 1946 Piper Tiger Cub three years ago and found an engineer called Matt Pettit at Bygone Aviation near Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. I wanted to modify it so I could fly it and he said it could be done. He is the most precise and intelligent man I have ever met,” said Arthur.

There were many problems to overcome and Matt, also a British Airways pilot, came up with solutions to all of them. “Matt was so thorough about his solutions that he had thought about every possible problem before it happened.”

Arthur and Matt put in a new more powerful engine with an electric start – it originally had a hand start where the pilot flipped the propeller but that is too dangerous for a wheelchair user. It also gained new brakes, cables, controls and undercarriage. It was a complete overhaul.

The plane passed all the tests to ensure it was safe to fly at the end of last year and Arthur has now finished his training to be able to take the controls.

“The Piper Cub is one of the old American barnstormers. It is so romantic. It has a simplicity, it is vintage and a quality plane.”

Arthur is now enjoying flying it to different aerodromes across the country. “If I want to fly to a particular small aerodrome I just ring them up to get prior permission and say I’ll be there for lunch.

“It is a great thrill to take family and friends up in it. I always feel it is a lost opportunity for someone to experience it if the seat behind me is empty.”

Arthur feels that having a pilot’s licence and being able to fly is a massive privilege and he is hugely grateful to everyone in the aviation world who has helped him – especially the Light Aircraft Association. “Without them, it would not have been possible,” he says.

“I would love to display it at air shows.” And that ambition may be realised later this year when he hopes to be at the Defford Air Day on Saturday June 13 at Croft Farm, Defford, near Pershore.

“If you have a dream, you have got to go about achieving it,” said the master of reaching for the skies!