Plymouth Raiders Wheelchair Basketball Club
941. Aaron Blyth-Palk
Aaron Blyth-Palk, from Plymouth, is a wheelchair basketball player on a mission to get more disabled people playing sport.
Aaron was paralysed in 2005 after falling more than 100 feet from a cliff. After being frustrated to find that his closest basketball club was an inaccessible two hour round trip, he set up ‘Plymouth Storm Wheelchair Basketball Club’. Aaron manages, coaches and plays, as well as securing funding for new kits and wheelchairs. He started speaking in local schools and at sports groups to promote the club and para-sports and, in 2017, officially merged with ‘Plymouth Raiders’, the city’s professional basketball team, to grow the team’s profile. The club has rebranded as ‘Plymouth Raiders Wheelchair Basketball Club’ and the merger aims to provide the best possible platform to grow the wheelchair sport in the region.
In a personal letter to Aaron, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“As a result of your hard work wheelchair basketball is thriving in Plymouth. By merging with ‘Plymouth Raiders’ the club you established is giving even more people the opportunity to get involved in this exciting and fast paced sport.”
Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, said:
“I warmly congratulate Aaron on receiving the Points of Light award from the Prime Minister. He is an example of how people can overcome significant challenges in their life to make a real and lasting contribution to the lives of others.”
“I hope that what I do for my club will encourage others to get involved with volunteering at any level or opportunity. I also hope that receiving this award will also help raise awareness about wheelchair basketball and other inclusive sports, on a local level.”