World Braille Day is on 4 January and with this in mind we have chosen Nigel Limb as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Nigel is an Ambassador for the Wilberforce Trust a charity dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilities across Yorkshire.
He lost most of his sight following a motorbike racing accident in 2015.
His wife was told that an MRI scan had revealed that Nigel had severe brain damage and would most likely die from his injuries within the next few days or be left in a vegetative state. The consultant requested permission to turn off his life support machine and his wife asked if it could be left on over the weekend while she got ready to say goodbye.
Then, on Monday, he woke up. The crash had caused major sight loss and Nigel had to face the loss of his business running a garage and as a floating MOT Tester. There were some tough times ahead. Despite his sight loss, you couldn’t keep Nigel off a bike for long. He had the skill, he had the muscle memory and when Scunthorpe Speedway invited him to get back on a bike he completed six laps to tremendous applause.
For the Wilberforce Trust, Nigel is an amazing Ambassador. He is living proof that life doesn’t end when you lose your sight. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your hopes and dreams and your passion for your favourite hobby. With the right support and adaptation, life can still be full of fun and happiness as well as the challenges and frustrations that come with any disability.
Now known as the “Blind Bloke Racing” Nigel has made a documentary with his wife Julie about their experience and he has appeared at different biker’s events telling his story. Being a fantastic role model for visually impaired people was never Nigel’s plan but he has shown by his example, his courage and his determination that he can bring hope to other people facing sight loss.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is on 3 December. With that in mind we have chosen Kevin Sinfield as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.
Kevin is a former rugby league player, captain and Director of Rugby for Leeds Rhinos who he spent his entire career playing for. He captained Leeds to seven Super League Championships and two Challenge Cup successes. He holds the record as the highest points scorer in Super League history, the third highest points scorer in British rugby league history and is Leeds’ record points scorer. He also represented England and Great Britain. His last match was in the 2015 Super League Grand Final captaining Leeds to victory.
In 2021 Kevin became the defence coach of the Rugby Union side Leicester Tigers following his retirement from playing union for Yorkshire Carnegie.
His great friend Rob Burrow was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2019, he and Kevin played together for Leeds Rhinos for many years, since then Kevin has been raising money for MND through various challenges the latest one (which has just finished) was to run 7 Ultra Marathons in 7 days. He started in Edinburgh and finished at Old Trafford during the Rugby League Mens World Cup Final. The route covered locations that resonated with Rob, ex footballer Stephen Darby and former Rugby Union player Doddie Weir who all have MND. The funds raised will be shared between 5 charities supporting people impacted by the condition. To date the challenge has raised £1,350,000.
In 2014 Kevin was awarded an MBE for services to rugby league and an OBE in 2021 for services to rugby league and charitable fund raising.
He also writes for Top Gear Magazine and the Motoring Section of the Daily Telegraph and is an expert on used Nissan Qashqais and Jukes.
Dominic is diabetic, having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a child, he has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 40 years and in that time has had as many as 20,000 hypos. He is a supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
October is Black History Month and with this in mind we have chosen Alice Dearing as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Alice is a British swimmer, specialising in open water events. She started swimming at the age of 4, began club swimming at 8 years old and started competitive racing a year later. She had many youth and national successes before winning World and European Junior marathon swimming events in her teens.
In June 2021, she qualified to represent Great Britain in the 2020 Olympics making her the first black swimmer to do so.
In 2020 she co-founded the Black Swimming Association. The charity was founded to encourage swimming among BME communities in Britain and has the support of Swim England.
Alice is also an ambassador for Soul Cap, a swimming cap designed to fit over and protect dreadlocks, afros, weaves, hair extensions and thick and curly hair. Although originally banned for use in the Olympics it has recently been approved by FINA swimming’s governing body for use in top level competitions making a huge step forward in the sport becoming more inclusive.
To find out more about Black History Month see here
An imposing 6ft 8in lock is nothing new in the Premiership, but Exeter’s Jack Dunne will be the league’s only openly LGBTQ+ player when he makes his debut for the club.
The 23-year-old summer signing from Leinster follows in the footsteps of Gareth Thomas and former Saracens back Sam Stanley, as well as current Premiership referee Craig Maxwell-Keys and long-serving Welsh official Nigel Owens.
“Hopefully once there are one or two more people it will start to feel that this is something they can say and it won’t be a big thing,” Dunne, who identifies as bisexual, told BBC Sport.
“Hopefully it would be good for other gay or bisexual men to see people like me and hopefully it’ll give them a bit of confidence to be able to be who they are.” More
A swimming cap for afro hair has been approved for use in top-level competitions.
The specialised covering – designed for thick, curly hair and styles such as dreadlocks, weaves and braids – was banned from last year’s Olympics.
Manufacturer Soul Cap described the approval from governing body Fina as “a huge step in the right direction”.
“We’re excited to see the future of a sport that’s becoming more inclusive,” it said.
Fina executive director Brent Nowicki said the announcement “follows a period of review and discussion on cap design between Fina and Soul Cap over the past year”, in a statement reported by the Metro. More
World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.
With that in mind we have chosen Jim Broadbent as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Jim is an actor, graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1972. He first came to prominence in television comedy in shows such as Only Fools and Horses and Time Bandits with his breakthrough role coming in Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet. His notable roles since then include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hot Fuzz, The Iron Lady, Game of Thrones to name just a few. He has played Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter film series and Samuel Gruber in the amazing Paddington films.
He has received many awards including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Iris, a BAFTA for Moulin Rouge and Longford and an Emmy for The Gathering Storm.
He was awarded an OBE in 2002 but declined stating that there were more deserving recipients than actors and that the British Empire was not something he wanted to “celebrate”.
Jim is an Ambassador for Dementia UK and in 2018 presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal, in which he spoke movingly about his own mother’s experience of dementia, as well as highlighting the life-changing support that the Dementia UK specialist nurses are able to offer families facing dementia – in communities, GP practices, hospitals, care homes and hospices, and on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline.