Irwin Mitchell Continues Campaign To Raise Profile Of Disability Sport By Supporting Former Bodyguard
An aspiring Olympian has received a funding boost to help him realise his dream of representing his country in the Paralympics.
Archer Mark Pattenden has his sights set on representing Team GB at Tokyo 2020. To help him achieve his goal, the 55-year-old has received a grant as part of Irwin Mitchell’s campaign encouraging people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical activity.
Mark, who lost a leg when he was involved in accident in his previous job as a bodyguard in 1999, will use the money to help pay for coaching and training fees during a year of intensive competitions. It is hoped he will then be able to achieve the standard required to make the Great Britain squad, fulfilling his Olympic ambition.
Receiving money makes a change for Mark, of Canning Town, East London, as he is the one normally handing out cash to good causes. He has raised more than £250,000 for charity following his accident.
He said: “Sport has always played a key part in my life, and while at first it was difficult adapting to life following my accident, I was determined that it should continue to be.
“I’m solely focused now on hopefully being selected for Tokyo 2020, it would be an incredible achievement to be picked.
“I have a very intensive year of training and competition coming up which will go a long way to seeing if I can attain the level of standard needed to make the Paralympic team.
“The funding from Irwin Mitchell will really help me in trying to achieve my goals.”
When he was younger Mark was a talented footballer and cricketer as well as an English Amateur Athletics Association county champion for the discus.
Since losing his lower left leg he has climbed to Everest Base Camp and set a world record as the first para athlete to participate in the Great Wall of China marathon.
Mark is currently part of the Paralympic Conversion Academy in the hope of competing in the Olympics.
He has received £500 from Irwin Mitchell’s Disability Sports Grant Programme. The grants scheme was set up as part of the firm’s Don’t Quit Do It campaign which encourages more disabled people to take part in sport.
Charities, individuals and groups involved in inclusive sport are eligible to apply for money to help with the cost of training, buying specialist equipment or taking part in special events. The programme has already given out £4000 to projects across the UK.
Expert OpinionThrough our work we have seen on numerous occasions how sport has been able to help our clients with rehabilitation following serious injury.
“Unfortunately, while there are over 12 million people with disabilities in the UK, only one in six actually takes part in sport regularly.
“Part of this is due to the lack of funding and availability of specialist equipment and, with that in mind, we hope these grants will help support individuals and sports teams so they can realise their true potential.
“When we heard Mark’s story we were so impressed with his drive and determination and how determined he was for sport to continue to be a major part of his life.
“We hope his achievements inspire others to realise that disability need to be a barrier to sport.
“We wish him all the best for the year ahead and hope he can fulfil his Paralympic ambition.” Nicola Maier - Partner
Irwin Mitchell is a proud supporter of disability sport and has partnerships with Paralympic gold-medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE, the England Amputee Football Association, Boccia England and a host of other related organisations.
The law firm was also the Official Legal Services Provider of the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 at the London Stadium in July last year, while it also supported the one-day Superhero Series event held at Dorney Lake in Windsor in August.
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's Don't Quit Do It campaign.