Pilgrim Bandits proudly supports disabled athlete, Simon Heaps

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At the age of 64, in May 2019 Simon had a life-changing below the knee amputation, but he didn’t let that stop him pursuing his passion to play top-level Table Tennis. He shares the Pilgrim Bandits mantra – Always A Little Further. 

Pilgrim Bandits learned of his inspirational story and shared values of never giving up and continuing to push yourself and we wanted to do all we could to help Simon make his dream reality. So, we have agreed to help him by funding a bespoke wheelchair that will assist him in his quest to be selected for England in the 2022 Commonwealth Para Games in Birmingham. This was measured up last week and will be ready for use early next year. 

Telling us a little bit about his journey, he said:

“I have a sporting background and played for England at Table Tennis in my youth representing both the Junior and Senior International teams and was actually European Cadet Champion (1970) during that period, and consequently have lots of International experience as an able-bodied athlete.

“When I lost my leg last year it was certainly a life changing experience, not just for me, but also my wife and my daughter. However, being the person that I am, it was the spur that I needed to play International Table Tennis again, albeit from a wheelchair. From my Hospital bed, post amputation, I joined GB Para Table Tennis and also managed to source a 2nd hand specialist Table Tennis wheelchair, which was actually used in the Rio 2016 Olympics. I had it delivered two days after I left Hospital and was playing my sport from a wheelchair that night. The journey had begun.

“I have always had goals in my life and needed an achievable target to focus on. To attempt to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was not an option as qualification was already under way and the GB Para Performance squad was already selected. So, I set my target as being selected for England in the 2022 Commonwealth Para Games in Birmingham. This is achievable, although I will be a week short of my 67th birthday when the Games are on!

‘I’d like to thank Pilgrim Bandits for supporting me in such a kind and generous way – you’re a fantastic charity, always prepared to go that extra mile to help those that need it and to help others continue pushing forward to achieve their potential despite disability. I will keep you all updated over the coming weeks and months.”

We wish him all the very best.

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