Arjan Ala's short life ended in 1998 when a fellow-paraglider collided with him in mid-air, near Tucson, Arizona in the south-western USA.

As a boy, Arjan was a student at the Lycee Razi and the Community School in Tehran, before going on to complete his secondary school education at the Edinburgh Academy in Scotland.

As a young man, he spent his under-graduate and post-graduate years studying biomedical engineering at Arizona University in Tucson. He was also an inventor, architectural photographer, and passionate sportsman: devoted to sailing and rock-climbing, but he was increasingly captivated by the transcendental joy he experienced in flying paragliders in the USA and Europe, which ultimately led to his untimely death. Yet, Arjan was a highly skilled paraglider - Master-Rated pilot and Advanced Instructor, who was the first recipient of 2 successive "Diamond Safe" awards in the USA, given for 2000 consecutive flights without incident or accident. Above all, he was a fiercely independent free spirit who lived his life with intensity and passion.

Quite apart from the joys and challenges of sport and the outdoors, Arjan was a creative and competent design engineer. Among other innovative projects, he took part in the design of electrophoretic cells for immune-globulin separation for the US SpaceLab Programme; developed his own safe-syringe invention, designed to eliminate the risk of needle-stick injury and the re-use of disposable syringes which are such a fertile source of virus transmission in the world - viruses such as hepatitis B & C or HIV. He was also deeply involved, at the Arizona University Hospital, in the design of orthopaedic prostheses and new bio-compatible materials for haemophilic patients whose joints had been destroyed by repeated haemorrhage.

It is to commemorate the life of this young man, who streaked across our sky like a brilliant meteor, that this Charity has been named the "Arjan Ala Charitable Trust" (AACT).