Sport: Wheelchair Rugby
How did you get into sport?
I played a lot of different sports at school for fun, but none of them became competitive. I also took an interest in extreme sports such as rollerblading, skateboarding and BMX riding.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame?
In January 1999, I contracted Meningitis C. As a result, I had to have both of my legs and most of my fingers amputated in March of the same year. When I left school I started wheelchair racing, starting with a local 10k race to raise money for a meningitis charity. I then went on to complete two London Marathons in 2008 and 2009 and it all started from there really.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- Competing in the London 2012 Paralympics in Wheelchair Rugby
- Becoming the first wheelchair user to scale Kilimanjaro unassisted
- Being back with the elite team in 2019 and training towards Toyko 2020.
Who most inspired you and why?
The athlete that inspired me the most was David Weir. I was in awe of the fact he could compete in such a variety of races from 100m to marathons and win them all! But there have been many people in my close support network who have inspired me to keep moving forward on my journey. Tanni Grey Thompson, my family, friends, teammates – I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
Mr BBC County File Steve Brown was an Athlete Mentor. He knew that I had done some work in schools and made me aware of the opportunity. I knew from the very first contact that this was something special and I wanted to be part of it.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
There are literally too many to mention. Over the years I've laughed, I've cried, I’ve been part of some magical moments. I really like it when someone contacts you out of the blue to say 'Hey, I'm 18 now you came into my school and inspired me to do............'. I am very lucky to be part of this programme which has such an impact across the country.