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!