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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Paralympic Gold Medallist, Helene Raynsford, joins our BRIT Ambassador family

We are thrilled that Paralympic Gold Medallist, Helene Raynsford has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Helene has been a constant source of advice, guidance and inspiration over the past two years and a great friend to the BRIT Family.

In the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, rowing made its debut appearance at the Games. Helene became the first ever Paralympic Champion in the sport.

Helene Raynsford - Paralympic Gold Medallist

“Positive mental health and resilience are so important for young adults and this is heightened with the additional challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic;

there has never been a more important time to deliver inspiration.

To improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK, the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are delivering annual UK-wide BRIT Challenges and inviting British Sporting Icons to unite, join our BRIT Ambassador family, and encourage, inspire and increase young adult participation in their BRIT 2021 Challenge.

Current and retired athletes will know the importance of good emotional wellbeing; not only to performance but also everyday life. I am sure they will all recognise the importance of young adult mental health and, once aware of this fantastic initiative, want to support BRIT’s invitation to become BRIT Ambassadors.

I encourage all athletes, current and former, to join me and make the BRIT 2021 Challenge an inspirational event throughout the UK. There are 450 universities and colleges in the UK and if each has a BRIT Ambassador to champion their student participation, we would have an extraordinary UK-wide impact on both supporting and improving young adult mental health."

Helene Raynsford

Paralympic Gold Medallist

Helene trained at the Royal Ballet School before an injury ended her chances of becoming a professional dancer. She went on to complete a degree in Biochemistry at Royal Holloway, University of London and at the age of 21, sustained a disability that left her needing the use of a wheelchair.

Helene returned to Royal Holloway, University of London to complete a Masters in Human Neuroscience and more recently, completed a Masters in Public Health at King's College, London.

Before taking up rowing Helene was a member of the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team from 2003 until 2006 and won two Paralympic World Cup silver medals in the sport.

Helene took up rowing after seeing the sport in person for the first time at Dorney Lake in 2005 and competed in the National Championships that year.

In May 2006, Helene gained selection into the British Rowing World Championships team and went on to become World Champion in the arms-only single sculls and set a World Record in the process.

At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Helene became the first ever Paralympic Champion in the sport, winning the women's single sculls by a 12-second margin in a time of 6 minutes 12.93 seconds.

In April 2010, Helene announced her retirement from rowing.

Helene joined the The British Paralympic Association (BPA) Athletes’ Commission in 2013 and was elected as its new Chair in 2018. The BPA’s Athletes’ Commission comprises twelve Paralympians and seeks to represent a balance of summer and winter sport, male and female athletes and a range of impairments. For more information on the BPA Athletes' Commission, please visit the BPA website.

Helene is keen to support Royal Holloway, University of London and King's College, London and encourage their students and staff to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge.

Helene is also encouraging fellow Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to unite with us so that every UK university and college has a BRIT Ambassador to encourage student and staff participation in BRIT's annual challenges.


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