Following our 40th Anniversary last year, we made the decision to slightly shift the DBF focus to give more attention to the popular Bader Grant Scheme. Here, as promised in the previous grant recipient update, is the follow up: the 2023 Update from Simon Heaps.
We hope to encourage more people to apply for a Bader Grant, extend the reach of the scheme and support more people living with disabilities and challenges to reach personal goals. We will be running updates from various Bader Grant Recipients over the next few months and we hope that seeing the variety of goals that receiving a Bader Grant can help you to achieve will inspire you to get in touch to apply for a Bader Grant yourself…
Bader Grant recipient, Simon Heaps, a recent double amputee due to type 1 diabetes, excelled at table tennis as a young player but after a long break only took up the sport he loved again in his 60’s. After losing his right leg in 2019 to Type 1 Diabetes, he discovered that he not only still loved playing but that, with the necessary adjustments to his game (such as remembering to keep the chair still while he hit the ball!) it was possible to play from a wheelchair. Since then he has gone from strength to strength in the sport and didn’t let the amputation of his left leg at the beginning of last year impede his progress up the rankings. He is now competing against the best players in the world in Wheelchair Table Tennis and winning. This would be an incredible achievement by anyone in the circumstances but the fact that Simon is now 67 and always the oldest player in the tournament makes it inspirational in every way.
We are so proud of what Bader Grant Recipient, Simon, has achieved and have been honoured to support him on his quest, which we believe can take him right to the top of his sport. Read on for the 2023 update from this totally committed athlete in his own words:
2023 Update from Simon Heaps
I strive not to let anybody down and hope that Sir Douglas Bader would of been proud of my efforts in the face of adversity
Following on from a very successful 2022 where the year started badly with losing my 2nd leg on Jan 13th, to May where I won my first ever International Para Medal in Jordan it then continued as I won multiple Medals of all colours in Mexico , Italy, Argentina , Greece, Brazil and Costa Rica. The highlight being crowned the first European Veteran (over 40 ) Para Wheelchair Champion in Rimini , Italy.
I ended the year as GB No 2, World No 30 and Europes 12th highest player in my Class.
2023 started with me being officially a bilateral amputee (due to Type 1 Diabetes) and I started the year strongly by gaining my best win, beating the World No 11, from Egypt, on his own soil to silence the home fans and gaining a Bronze Medal in the seasons first event in Cairo.
Very strong tournaments followed in Spain and Italy before I got back on the Medal trail again by gaining Bronze in Greece.
Next up is Jordan at the end of May, followed by USA and Costa Rica back to back in July and then Saudia Arabia in August.
I am hopeful in being selected by Grrat Britain for the European Para Table Tennis Championships in Sheffield in September and then I will be competing in the IWAS ( International Wheelchair Amputee Sports Federation ) World Games in Thailand where I aim to be World Champion Amputee Wheelchair player !!
All of these events are on a self funding basis when I represent Great Britain around the World and are very expensive when accounting for entries, travel and accommodation. I rely solely on Charitable Grants and I am so grateful to The Douglas Bader Foundation for awarding me to become a Grant Recipient and the award has really helped me train and compete around the world in a sport that I love since I lost both of my legs, along with raffles, small sponsorships and donations.
I have a secure Go Fund Me Page where donations can be made. Details and a link can be found at the bottom of this post.
I respond personally to every person who makes a donation as I am so grateful.
I strive not to let anybody down and hope that Sir Douglas Bader would of been proud of my efforts in the face of adversity and also the many Medals that I have won around the world whilst competing for my country in the last 12 months.
Possibly something that is even more astonishing is that I am at the ripe old age of 67 yrs of age !!, and always the oldest player in the tournament every time. As the saying goes “ There is life left in the old dog yet “
Please click on the image below to watch the BBC Interview with Simon which clarifies the impact his financial difficulties will have on his career…
Below are some photographs taken at recent tournaments. It would be such a shame if this very gifted player, an inspiration to people with disabilities and non-disabled, and old and young alike had to give up the sport at which he excels and at which he has a very real chance of reaching the top as the result of lack of funds. Simon has so far competed as a self-funding athlete with the help of personal fund-raising events, grants from DBF and some other charities and kind donations. As you’ll see from this 2023 update from Simon Heaps, this could be the year he achieves his goal. But – he will need financial support to do that. Please donate to his fundraising page (link below) or get in touch with him if you’d like to act as a sponsor, would like more information or to talk to him personally.
We have every faith that any support will be rewarded by seeing this inspirational man, a double amputee and the oldest player on the circuit, reach the top of his sport and strike a blow for all people living with disabilities and those who won’t see 60 again!
Please do help Simon to achieve his goal if you can. All donations are so gratefully received.
Links: (will open in new tabs)