Part 3 of Junior Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Thomas Talbot’s, Sporting Journey

Herewith the 3rd instalment of Thomas Talbot’s sporting journey. Our first Junior Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Thomas was born with cerebral palsy but, showing the Bader spirit in spades as you will see from this latest report, Thomas pursues success as a RaceRunner with a courage and determination that makes him a worthy and thoroughly inspirational BGRotM.

My Sporting Journey Part 3

Cerebral palsy and sport – it doesn’t always go your way!

When I got back from Denmark, the very next week I had to have Botox operations on my legs to help let them stretch a bit more again as they were so tight. They also found some problems with my hip.

In October 2016 I got some really bad news that I needed surgery on my hip as the hip was half in and half out. It is common with children with cp that their hip sockets don’t always form properly as they learn to walk much later than abled bodied kids.  Even so it was not the news I wanted.

In January 2017 I had hip re-construction surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and I spent my 13th birthday in hospital. Not the best way to become a teenager!


I was in a hip spica for 7 weeks. After the spica came off, I had to have lots of physio! It took me until May 2017 to go back to school whilst having to learn to walk all over again. This was because they had to take quite abit of bone from my thigh to graft into my hip and I now have quite a leg length difference between my left and right legs. I got a Rotary Child of Courage Award whilst I was recovering too! I dreamt I would walk again and I promised myself I would get back on my RaceRunner. By July 2017 I was back on my feet and moving around!


By August 2017 I was back on my RaceRunner using it for walking therapy. It was a struggle and we had to adapt how I ran with a built up shoe. Quietly we trained!

In late September 2017 I returned to the track and I won the Cerebral Palsy Sport Under 14
National CP Championships for 100m, 200m, 400m & 800m and I was close to my PBs too!



All the hard work to fight back to fitness has been worth it as I found out in late October 2017 that I have been selected to represent England at the CPISRA World Games in Spain in August 2018. So the hard work starts.

I have been training hard through the winter… it has been cold… it has been wet… it has been snowy!

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Click on the link to download a pdf which can be printed or saved of the original document of Thomas’s My Sporting Journey Part 3

You can look forward to Part 4 of Thomas’s Sporting Journey, which will follow shortly…

BGRotM Sophie – April Update


Sophie, 4th from left at the Karen Betts Gift of Confidence Awards in April


Our current Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Sophie Harris, has had a busy time lately and it looks as though, with an imminent trip to Italy with the GB Para squad and fellow development squad, things are going to get even busier.

We’re grateful to Sophie for sending us an update of her recent activities and achievements and delighted that she is doing so phenomenally well since her recent amputation. She is an inspiration to all.

Since she last posted, she has been visited by GB coaches from Caversham to oversee her local club, Dart Totnes, and her ongoing training. They saw her complete Ergo (indoor rowing machine) work followed by a Fine Double and then a Fine Single outing. For those, like me, not used to rowing terms, the Amateur Rowing Association supplies the following: “Most clubs will have a variety of boat classes and types and these can be quite mystifying to the new volunteer. The boats normally used for competition are described as ‘fine’. Your club may also have ‘playboats’ for beginners. Fine rowing boats range in size from a single scull (27ft), doubles/pairs (34ft), fours/quads (44ft), to eights/octuples (62 ft). They have to be stored carefully as they are expensive and can be easily damaged.

On Saturday 21st April, she also took part in the Women’s and the Mixed Quads in the Breakwater Bash, which is a coastal rowing race held at Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club.

Our BGRotM also had the well deserved accolade of being nominated for the Karen Betts Gift of Confidence, which was held in London at the Sanderson. There she met Katie Piper and Alex Lewis as well as the other three inspirational nominees.

Sophie, Back row 4th from left, with from left to right, Diana Armstrong, Tracy Dickinson, Alex Lewis, Karen Betts, Carly Barratt and Katie Piper
Sophie, Back row 4th from left, with from left to right, Diana Armstrong, Tracy Dickinson, Alex Lewis (front), Karen Betts, Carly Barratt and Katie Piper

I’ve overcome my amputation and I’ve been given my life back. I’m hopefully inspiring others that amputation isn’t all bad. You can have life afterwards.  Sophie Harris

A few tweaks carried out by Dorset Orthopaedic have helped Sophie with her new prosthetic rowing leg which should stand her in good stead for her forthcoming trip to Varese Italy with the GB Para Squad and Fellow Development Squad.

We’re delighted to have been able to feature Sophie as our latest Bader Grant Recipient of the Month and very grateful for her input and hope that she will continue to keep us updated as we’ve no doubt that with her determination and commitment she is going on to great things with her rowing career. We are proud to be associated with this inspirational woman and to have been able to support her on her journey with a Bader Grant.

If you’d like to apply for a Bader Grant to help you to achieve a personal goal, please use the link below to check out the information on our Bader Grant page where you’ll also find access to an application form.

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Meet our latest Bader Grant Recipient of the Month – Sophie Harris

We’re very pleased to introduce you to our latest Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Sophie Harris, who had her leg amputated last February, and is now pursuing her goal to represent Team GB in the Paralympic Games. We were delighted to be able to acknowledge her courage and determination with a Bader Grant.

Sophie has just returned from a Para Development Camp at Bisham Abbey and has kindly sent us a diary of what sounds like a pretty exhausting but very rewarding experience.

Classification- Successful National. So chuffed. Sophie Harris at Bisham Abbey

We’ll be bringing you more from Sophie during her time as our featured BGRotM and wish her every success in the pursuit of her goal. With the Bader spirit in spades, we’ve no doubt she’ll succeed.

Sophie is currently raising money towards the cost of a specialist rowing prosthetic which she’s unable to get through the NHS but which is vital to take her to the level in her chosen sport that will qualify her to compete in the Paralympics. If you’d like to help her to achieve her goal, she would be very grateful for any donations and you can give via her fundraising page: where you will also find further information about Sophie.

Below is a piece from the excellent Dorset Orthopaedic’s latest e-newsletter with further information.

Sophie Harris’ Rowing Success

New ambassador Sophie Harris has made extraordinary progress in her quest to become a competitive rower following the amputation of her left leg below the knee just over a year ago.

Born with Congenital Talipes Equinovarus, Sophie struggled with multiple surgeries and procedures to help her walk independently but eventually she had to have an amputation in February 2017 at the age of 32. Developing an interest in rowing helped Sophie to navigate those early months when she was adjusting to her new way of life, physically and psychologically. She joined the Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club based in Plymouth who introduced her to the sport and were instrumental in discovering her natural affinity with rowing.

Since then, Sophie’s training has gone from strength to strength, and she has been training with Dart Totnes Rowing Club with the support of her coach Simon Gifford-Mead. Her dedication and talent led her to be invited to British Rowing’s Talent ID camp and later she became nationally classified in PR3 rowing. The latest news from Sophie is that she has been asked to attend an international camp in Italy in May 2018 where she’ll be classified for international competitions and have the opportunity to see the Paralympic Team GB Squad in action. This is an incredible step on Sophie’s journey to greatness, and a sign of the amazing things to come; she’s already set her sights on Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024 Paralympics.

Sophie’s team of clinicians at the Southern Clinic created this beautiful custom made rowing leg designed to support her sporting ambitions. 



Herewith Sophie’s camp diary:

1-4th March Para Development camp 1 @Bisham Abbey / Caversham. 
Day 1 arrived after escaping the snow. 
Goal setting and Strength and conditioning ( showing our training programme and progress) 
Given new exercises to add in. 
Physio- Pilates / roller stretches. 
1-1 with central coach progress log over the last quarter. 
Day 2 
Bfst 6:30 
Stretch , Biathlon 20 bike 20 erg 20 bike. 
Ergo test 
250M 40-44 .. finished with rate of 46 a pb 
2 k at 22/24/26 
Spilt sets by GBR para coach. 
Busted a gut but happy with timings .. informed I kept a good rate. 
Stretch and chill. 
In bed by 9 ! 
Day 3 
Bfst 6:30 
Training from 7:30 
Biathlon , Pilates , stretching 
Classification- Successful National. So chuffed
Ergo 3×10 5 mins rest 
The last 3 mins was savage. 
Happy with results. 
Social coffee in Marlow due to cabin fever whilst the Snow was shifting. 
1-1 with Head coaches 
Invited to Classify Internationally! Which means 2.5 weeks in Italy this May with 4 others from Dev squad and the Main para squad. 
2 day classification, Physio , Dr. 
Observe main squad competition and then 7 day land and water training. 
Day 4
Water day ! 
Leave at 7 to arrive for stretches 
Basic boat skills , square blade , quarter half and full slide. 
In a Sculling double. 
Riggor dips hate those 
And even managed a 750m row with the main coach feathered blades. 
Amazing experience very demanding and physical but worth it good job they have physio’s on hand. 
Plans ahead: 
2k free rate @ Bisham Abbey 24th March 
Preparation for Italy in May 
Local regattas both Coastal and fine. 
Next development camp: 
Caversham 20-23 June 
Marlow 11-15 July 
Nottingham 18-21 October Trials .

 We’re very grateful to Sophie for her fascinating and informative input and look forward to bringing you more news of her progress in the next instalment!