GB Paralympic medal winner gives talk at BU

Posted on Friday, December 7 2012

Paralympic athlete Ben Rushgrove

Paralympic athlete Ben Rushgrove visited Bournemouth University to talk to students and staff about disability.

Ben represented Great Britain in the T36 100m and 200m at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and the London 2012 Games.

He won a silver medal in the 100 metres in Beijing and bronze medal in the 200m in London.

Ben – who has cerebral palsy, dyslexia and is deaf – spoke to students and staff about his Paralympic experience and disability.

“A lot of emphasis is being put on the Paralympic Games. It was pretty amazing, and the crowds were just phenomenal, but the problem is it was just a moment – and moments pass and move on,” he said.

“If we don’t make the most of the opportunities, the moment will be lost forever.”

He added: “We build disability into our world – we build steps instead of ramps, we create signs with no braille on.

“It is about looking at disability as something that is changeable. We as a society can do something about this, but the question is are we ready to?”

Ben was at Bournemouth University today as part of a series of events for Disability History Month, which runs from 22nd November to 22nd December

Ben, who is now training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, said he thought it was important that universities held events like this.

“Universities are one of those places where ideas are formed for life,” he said.

“People go to university to learn and have an open mind, and want to be influenced by people and things that are going on.

“It is really important that we continue doing that.”

Dr James Palfreman-Kay, equality and diversity officer at Bournemouth University, said: “I hope that by bringing together the School of Tourism, AimHigher with BU and Sport BU to celebrate Disability History Month and hold events like this, we start and continue conversations about disability issues.”

The next event taking place at BU as part of Disability History Month is the screening of a student documentary about suicides in the New Forest and discussion about the depiction of mental illness and suicide in the media.

It will take place on Wednesday December 12, in PG144, from 12pm to 1pm.