An original member of the Crippendales group, which stripped off to highlight the prejudices faced by millions of disabled people, is preparing to leap 12,000 feet.

Asif Hanif, of Lela Avenue, Hounslow West, signed up for the charity skydive on October 5 to challenge misconceptions about people with disabilities.

The 38-year-old, whose left leg was damaged by polio as a child, claims disabled people are too often seen as contributing nothing to society and relying on benefits.

"There's still a lot of prejudice in society and we don't want people's care or pity," he said. "We want to be treated as human beings and given the same opportunities as everyone else. Lots of disabled people, including our prime minister, have achieved remarkable things and it shouldn't be a barrier to achieving your dreams."

Asif was involved in the Crippendales, an award-winning documentary screened earlier this month about a group of disabled men doing a 'Full Monty'. However, he pulled out before the big night, insisting he shouldn't have to sacrifice his dignity to promote the cause.

Instead, he opted to do a charity parachute jump in Buckingham, through which he hopes to raise £2,000 for The Limbless Association.

Asif, who presents a weekly show on Southall-based voluntary radio station Westside and is a member of London Disability Cricket, is not stopping there. His next mission is to abseil down Canary Wharf Tower and unfurl a giant banner heralding the London Games in a bid to raise more money for Paralympic athletes.

Asif, who grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, before moving to England a decade ago, says disabled awareness is improving but there's a long way to go. "Hounslow Mosque, for example, recently removed its only disabled parking space and the lift is often out of order making it inaccessible to people like me."
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