Great North Air Ambulance and Back Up
815. Will Clark
Will Clark, from the Lake District, has tirelessly fundraised for the ‘Great North Air Ambulance’, the charity that saved his life in 2012, after he suffered a debilitating spinal injury during a triathlon.
Will has learned how to sail on Windermere, travelled to Sweden to take part in a ski-karting course, and been pushed around the Great North Run half-marathon route to raise £12,500 for the ‘Great North Air Ambulance’. This year he also took on a new challenge – dubbed ‘Get Will Up A Hill’ – which saw a team of friends push him to the summit of Snowdon. The challenge marked five years since Will’s accident and saw him raise a further £8,000 for ‘Back Up’.
Will has also travelled to Vienna to address an international spinal cord injury conference, is a charity volunteer and, earlier this year, successfully stood as a Cumbria county councillor for the Lib Dems. His story inspired readers of the Westmorland Gazette to raise £25,000 in donations to pay for Will to have a boat on the Lake District which is specially tailored so that he can use it with his wheelchair.
In a personal letter to Will, Prime Minister Theresa said:
“Your tireless fundraising efforts for the ‘Great North Air Ambulance’ and ‘Back Up’, despite very difficult personal circumstances, are a remarkable achievement and have inspired so many. In addition the vital community engagement work you have done to raise awareness of the emergency services and spinal injuries, has shown tremendous commitment.”
Tim Farron, Will’s local MP, said:
“What Will has gone on to achieve since his injury is nothing short of remarkable. Whether it be raising huge amounts of money for charity going up Mount Snowdon, or the amazing work he does on the County Council, Will has been and will continue to be an inspiration for so many in our community, and I’m absolutely thrilled that all his great work is being recognised with this award.”
“I may not have survived my accident if it wasn’t for the early intervention of the ‘Great North Air Ambulance’. The ‘Back Up Trust’ (spinal charity) really helped me realise that there is life after a high level spinal injury.
“I am amazed and delighted to have the Prime Minister honour me with a Points of Light award. The support that I have received from friends and family within the local community has really given me the support and motivation to make the most of what opportunities have come my way.
“The injury has not been easy and significantly changed the direction which my life was taking. It has however brought it’s own opportunities. Five years ago I was still in hospital and had just got off the ventilator. I didn’t envisage completing ‘The Great North Run’ or getting to the top of mount Snowdon, speaking at an international spinal conference in Vienna, skiing in Sweden or standing for the local council. I also like helping in my local primary school and sailing when I can. People say it’s inspirational but as I was active before my accident I still want to be active now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”