A GOLD medal winning Olympian has become an ambassador for a Southport-based disability charity.
Nick Skelton CBE, who finally won Individual Gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Showjumping after years of trying, has been announced as the latest Honorary Ambassador for Revitalise, which runs the Sandpipers respite holiday centre in Southport.
The charity offered the position to Nick due to his incredible showjumping achievements and his personal experience of disability caused by a neck injury in 2000, from which Nick subsequently made a full recovery.
Nick has had a long and very successful career in equestrianism and received an OBE for services to equestrian sport in 2012. Later, Nick won a team Showjumping gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, and surpassed this with individual gold in Rio four years later – making him the oldest British Olympic gold medallist since 1908.
For this, and in recognition of his continued service to equestrian sport, Nick was elevated to a CBE.
Nick joins Team GB Paralympians and Boccia medallists Dan Bentley and David Smith MBE – a fellow Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold-medallist and now the joint most successful British Boccia player in history – as an Honorary Ambassador of Revitalise. The charity is also supported by Dame Judi Dench and Esther Rantzen.
Revitalise chief executive Chris Simmonds commented: “Nick’s incredible sporting career certainly attracted our attention, but what really stood out for us was his amazing recovery from a broken neck which could very easily have ended his career.
“For this indomitable spirit and all the good work he does behind the scenes for the rehabilitation of injured equestrians, we felt Nick was a really obvious choice for us.”
Commenting on his appointment, Nick said: “I’m delighted to become an Honorary Ambassador for Revitalise and I’m looking forward to helping the charity continue its work and raise its public profile.
“I fully support Revitalise’s mission to provide much-needed respite holidays for disabled people and carers. I was also very interested to hear that Revitalise supports people who are recovering from spinal injuries at Sandpipers (Southport), since this is an issue that’s very close to my heart.
“I have first-hand experience of a spinal injury, from which I was lucky enough to make a full recovery, so I really hope my own experience has given me some valuable insights which will prove useful to Revitalise.”