Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month

4 January is World Braille day and with that in mind we have chosen Mike Brace as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Born in Hackney, East London, in 1950, Mike has always loved sport. However, at the age of ten, his life dramatically changed. Blinded in one eye, after an accident with fireworks, Mike then lost sight in his second eye two years later from a detached retina. At 12, he reluctantly went to a specialist boarding school, but there he re-discovered his love of sport.

In 1973 he founded the Metro Sports Club for the Blind. Later, he helped set up The British Paralympic Association, British Blind Sport and the British Ski Club for the Disabled.

Mike went on to become a successful cross-country skier. He managed, and competed in, the Paralympic ski team. A talented and versatile athlete, aged 33, he completed the Devizes to Westminster 125-mile canoe marathon. It took him and his guide 27 hours of non-stop canoeing, without sleep, in the worst weather conditions in the history of the race.

As a board member of both the successful Olympic and Paralympic 2012 Bid Team, Mike was appointed to the London Organising Committee for London 2012 and later became CEO for the newly formed VISION 2020 UK, an organisation which unites various charities, including RNIB, and health services involved in sight loss.

Mike recently won this year’s lifetime achievement award at the RNIB See Differently Awards for his outstanding contribution to business, sport and charity, changing perceptions of disability and inspiring thousands. In 2003 Mike was awarded an OBE and, in 2009, a CBE for Services to Disabled Sport. He was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of London in July 2016.

To find out more about World Braille Day see here

To find out more about Mike see here

PDC Darts Championship: Fallon Sherrock beats Ted Evetts to make history

Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship by coming back from behind to stun Ted Evetts 3-2 in London.

The 25-year-old from Milton Keynes – only the fifth woman to play in the event – was cheered throughout a superb contest at Alexandra Palace.

Sherrock, the BDO Women’s World Championship runner-up in 2015, fell 2-1 behind but rallied to make history.

“I have proved that we can play the men and can beat them,” she said.

Sherrock ended the night in joyful tears after a thrilling victory over 22-year-old world number 77 Evetts, also from England. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – December 2019

3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and with this in mind we have chosen Mike Oliver as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month. Sadly Mike died in March following a short illness and this is the first time we have had a posthumous Champion. 

Mike was a Professor Emeritus of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich who spoke, wrote and published books including Understanding Disability, The Politics of Disablement and The New Politics of Disablement.

He was the first Professor of Disability Studies and was best known as the person who named and popularised the concept of the ‘social model’ of disability which states that it is the way society is organised which is disabling, not a person’s impairments or medical diagnosis.

In his work he comprehensively explained that society is the disability not the individual and goes on to demonstrate that by changing society by removing disabling barriers, disability could be minimised to the point of eradication. As Mike once described it, this different approach to disability: “changed it from being a medical issue to being a human rights issue.”

Countless change-makers who have shaped the legislation, policies, and world which exists today credit him and the social model as being their ‘lightbulb moment’. The initial concept was not his own creation: the principles were laid out in a 1976 pamphlet produced by the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Discrimination. However, Mike developed the term and popularised it with his 1983 book Social Work With Disabled People.

The book was originally written as course materials for healthcare professionals Mike was training, but it came out at a fortuitous time for the growing disability rights movement. The social model gave campaigners the framework to address disability discrimination, and the concept became a tool to address underlying assumptions.

Mike is remembered as the father of the social model, the person who founded disability studies as an academic discipline, and the man who ignited a movement and changed the lives of millions of disabled people around the globe.

  To find out more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities see here

Ryan Atkin: From linesman to champion – first openly gay referee on experiences

“I got a lot of people just patting me on the back and saying ‘well done, it doesn’t matter that you are gay’.”

In August 2017, Ryan Atkin became the first man refereeing in England’s professional leagues to come out as gay.

Since then, he has gone from working as an assistant referee in the English Football League to refereeing in the National League this season.

From running the line to being the man in the middle, he has been nominated has been named as one of Stonewall’s Sport Champions for 2019.

Before the charity’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which started on Friday and is aimed at tackling homophobia in sport, Atkin spoke to the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast and says he hopes that others can follow in his footsteps. More

Rose Hudson-Wilkin: First black female bishop consecrated

The first black woman to become a Church of England bishop has been consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin was consecrated as the Bishop of Dover during the ceremony in London.

Dr Hudson-Wilkin said: “I’m excited, I’ve got lots of new people to meet, to get to know, and that fills me with joy.”

The former chaplain to the speaker of the house succeeds the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott who retired in May.

Dr Hudson-Wilkin was 14 when she joined the ministry and said she never thought becoming a bishop would be possible. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – November 2019

World Diabetes Day is 14 November, with that in mind we have chosen Henry Slade as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Henry is a professional rugby player who signed his first professional contract with Exeter Chiefs at the age of 18, the same year in which he also developed type 1 diabetes.

He has adapted to life with diabetes but admitted there was a moment he thought his career may have come to a premature end.  He could not understand how he could continue to play and have diabetes.

Fortunately he was told his rugby career would not be jeopardised, providing he was able to control his diabetes.  He quickly educated himself on what management routines worked for training and matches, what worked best for himself and took advice from fellow rugby professional Chris Pennell who is also diabetic.

Henry has not let his diabetes hinder any of his ambitions.  He was called into the England squad in 2014 and is currently part of the England Squad at the World Cup in Japan.

When asked if diabetes has changed him, he answered: “I wouldn’t say it’s changed my life. The way I look at it is you can’t change what’s happened to you. I’ve got diabetes and it’s something I just have to live with.

To find out more about World Diabetes Day see here To find out more about Henry see here

UK Invictus Games 2020 team unveiled by Duke of Sussex

A former RAF medic and RAF corporal will lead Team UK at next year’s Invictus Games in the Hague.

Capt Rachel Williamson, from Rutland, who was discharged after being injured, will lead the 65-strong team.

David Morris, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be the vice-captain.

Cpl Morris developed PTSD after a Red Arrows colleague died when his ejection seat deployed while on the ground.

The pair both represented the UK at the Invictus Games in 2018.

Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a way of using sport to create a positive impact on the lives of injured service personnel and veterans. More

Booker Prize: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo share award

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have been named the joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize after the judges broke their rules by declaring a tie.

Atwood’s The Testaments, the Canadian writer’s follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, was recognised alongside Londoner Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other.

The pair will split the literary award’s £50,000 prize money equally.

The Booker rules say the prize must not be divided, but the judges insisted they “couldn’t separate” the two works.

Atwood, 79, is the oldest ever Booker winner, while Evaristo is the first black woman to win. More

BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list this year?

The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019.

This year 100 Women is asking: what would the future look like if it were driven by women?

From climate change activist Greta Thunberg, to trans woman Nisha Ayub who was put into a male prison aged 21, many on the list are driving change on behalf of women everywhere. They give us their vision of what life could look like in 2030.

Others, such as the “ghost” politician defying the mafia, and the footballer battling misogyny, are using their extraordinary personal experiences to blaze a path for those who follow. More

Just another University of Greenwich blog