My journey starts on the 15th August 1991. For some this could have been the end of the road.
I was working in partnership with my father as a joiner, having recently served my apprenticeship. I was always a keen sportsperson, running for the School cross country team on many occasions, playing tennis and cycling with the Heanor Clarion Cycling Club. It was while competing in a time trial event with the Cycling Club that I was involved in a road traffic accident which resulted in a spinal cord injury leaving me paralysed from the waist down.
During the 8 months recovery and rehabilitation at Lodge Moor Spinal Injuries Unit, Sheffield, I was introduced to wheelchair sport, primarily wheelchair basketball. Whilst I was still an inpatient I played my first National League game for the Sheffield Steelers, who trained there. I soon progressed to be a regular first team member and 12 months later was invited to a GB training camp. During the next 6 years with the Steelers, we won the 1st and 2nd Division National League title consecutively, 5 National Cup wins and in 1994 we won the European Cup Winners Cup Championships. I became a regular GB player gaining 13 caps and going on to win a bronze medal at the International Games in 1995.
I have also competed nationally in wheelchair tennis tournaments. I also became a water skiing instructor and gained a boat driving licence. Up until 2007 I competed in the Nottingham Half Marathon each year.
At a Paratriathlon identification weekend at Loughborough University in February 2013, I showed great promise in the 3 disciplines (750m swim and 5k Race Chair time trials plus VO2 Max test), recording world class times. I was called back on the final day for an interview and offered a place on the Great Britain Paratriathlon Talent Program for Rio 2016.
Since then I have attended a five day training camp at Loughborough University and have shown great improvement in all of these disciplines.
The final day of the camp saw me competing in the British Elite Duathlon Championships at Prestwold Hall Loughborough. I finished in 2nd place and was awarded my first multi-sport Silver medal.
Having realised my potential in Paratriathlons, I am now engaging in an intensive training program which involves two training sessions a day six days a week, regular weekend camps at Loughborough University and lab testing to see where improvement can be made. With the support of British Paratriathlon coaches and their wealth of knowledge in each of the three disciplines, I am more than confident that I will be representing Great Britain again soon. Ultimately my goal is to make the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. Outside of Paratriathlon it is still my aim to continue my road racing as much as possible. I am fully dedicated and committed to fulfilling my goal of competing for Team GB over the coming years and competing in the very first Paralympic Paratriathlon in Rio 2016. It is with great thanks to my current sponsors that I am well on my way to reaching my goal. Equipment, training and travel costs are however very expensive and I would welcome the opportunity of working with additional sponsors who would be willing to support my cause.
Outside of my training regime, I have two children Sam, aged 17 and Grace, aged 13.
Prior to taking up full time training I was a volunteer at the Busy Fingers Pre-school for 10 years and I was also responsible for the running of a parent and toddler group for 8 years. In addition to these voluntary activities I have done a number of presentations to various groups, organisations and schools in relation to my life story, my sporting achievements and in relation to how my accident has enabled me and not disabled me in my life.
These include presentations to;
Heanor Rotary Club, Stapleford Women's Group, Heanor Brownies, Ilkeston School, The Princes Trust, Aldercar Community Language College, Various radio interviews including Andy Potter afternoon show "My First, Last and everything" BBC Radio Derby, Long Row Primary School Belper, Denby Free School, Mundy Junior School Heanor, Dallimore School Kirk Hallam, Spinal Injury Patients Lodge Moor Hospital Sheffield.