113. Adrian Derbyshire
A Warrington sportsman has hand-cycled thousands of miles across the UK and Isle of Man to raise awareness of disability hate crime.
Adrian Derbyshire, a British wheelchair fencing champion, started a campaign to raise awareness of hate crime against people with disabilities after his own personal experience of facing abuse inspired him to take action. Armed with the determination not to let the same happen to others, Adrian is now well on the road to completing his nine month challenge to cycle a marathon every day across the UK and Isle of Man, educating young people in schools and workshops about hate crime on the way.
Following a brain haemorrhage in 2008 which left him partially paralysed, Adrian began competing for Great Britain in wheelchair fencing, winning two gold and three silver medals in domestic and international competitions. However, his career was cut short after specialised equipment was stolen and along with the verbal abuse he faced while using his wheelchair, Adrian was left feeling isolated, vulnerable and his confidence hit rock bottom.
He joined forces with Warrington Borough Council and Stop Hate UK as an ambassador, gladly accepting the challenge and in doing so educating young people on the effects of hate crime. He has used his handcycle to travel to schools and youth centres, and cycled over 2000 miles to provide mentoring session to over 6,000 young people. The campaign has been so successful that he has already been approached by authorities to run it in France, Spain and Germany.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Adrian is an inspirational campaigning volunteer who has used his own experiences of prejudice to educate others about hate crime. He is raising awareness of his important campaign through a remarkable feat of physical endurance. As a result his positive messages of tolerance and acceptance have reached the ears of over 5,000 young people. I am delighted to recognise Adrian as a Point of Light today”.
“I am honoured to receive recognition for the work I do to by the Prime Minister. I am currently handcycling a marathon a day as part of a 9 month awareness campaign as well as being an ambassador for 6 charities and the co-chair of a disability forum which provides information, help and services for people in the north west. I will continue to spread the messages highlighted in my campaign to evens such as Gay Pride, Mela, Disability Awareness and in various English Half marathons, and marathons throughout the year.”
David Mowat, Adrian’s local MP said:
“Adrian is an inspirational figure in Warrington and more widely. He is much respected and admired – this award is truly deserved. Well Done.”
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