2208. John Willis
John Willis, from Cambridge, founded ‘Power2Inspire’ to help people with disabilities take part in sport by hosting inclusive and adapted sport events.
John was born without fully formed arms and legs, and in 2013, joined with two friends to participate in a mixed ability team for a triathlon, raising £20,000 for charity, leading John to create ‘Power2Inspire’ focusing on inclusion through sport.
John’s mission through the charity is to make sport inclusive for everyone, while also helping to build confidence, resilience, and improve mental health. ‘Power2Inspire’ has reached over 70,000 people, and has hosted many inclusive golf, badminton, hockey, cycling and tennis events as well as an inclusive kilometre walk, the ‘SuperSensory1k’.
John has also taken his passion for sport to complete fundraising challenges, and this year, he completed a 108-mile kayaking challenge along the River Thames. His challenges have seen him raise over £100,000 to support the charity to run inclusive sports days.
John’s award follows the International Day of People with Disabilities on Sunday 3rd December.
In a personal letter to John, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I was inspired to learn of your own story, from joining a mixed ability triathlon team a decade ago to creating your own charity to bring people of all abilities together through sport.
“Through your charity, Power2Inspire, you have reached over 70,000 people with your inclusive sports events. You are doing so much to help build people’s confidence, improve their mental health and, in your own words, ensure that ‘no-one is left on the bench.”
“It’s an absolute honour and it’s wonderful that we can shine a light on inclusive sport to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities. Our particular focus is encouraging people of all abilities, whether disabled or not, to play sports together and to ensure that ‘no one is left on the bench’.”
Find out more about ‘Power2Inspire’