The GB paraclimbing team will be able to compete in a number of international competitions this year – thanks to a sponsorship deal with a Lancashire law firm.
Leyland-based Birchall Blackburn Law, which already sponsors paraclimber Dave Bowes, has thrown its weight behind the entire team, meaning the eight members will be able to go to all the international competitions this year.
They can now compete in the World Championships in Paris in September – something they would have struggled to do without Birchall Blackburn Law’s backing.
Since securing the deal, the team has won three gold medals and one bronze in Italy at the first round of the Para Cup and a gold, silver and bronze medal from the most recent cup in Austria.
The GB paraclimbing team includes climbers who have had amputations, are blind and have neurological or other physical disabilities.
Dave, who will be going for gold in Paris, suffered multiple brain injuries as a result of a road traffic accident in 2007, which left him with a neurological disability.
He refused to let the injuries stop him from climbing. He has since become British Paraclimbing Champion, ranked second in Europe and fourth in the World, and even earned a place on the able bodied GB Ice Climbing Team.
Dave said: “This sponsorship will help the team function better and be more cohesive. It means we can train professionally; it means anyone who wanted to do the two World Cup rounds before the World Championships can do, it’s great preparation.
“It means here in the UK we will be able to have more training days and we can really work together as a team. Without this support members of the team wouldn’t have been able to compete in these competitions. Some of the team are unable to work, while some are still students so they don’t have any money coming in.
“This sponsorship will make a huge difference to us as a team and we are very grateful for the support.”
Dianne Yates, partner and head of serious and catastrophic injury at Birchall Blackburn Law, said: “We have supported Dave for three years and we are thrilled to be able to extend that support to the rest of the team.
“We have seen first-hand how hard it is to come back from a life changing injury, but with the right support from specialist medical and legal teams, the seemingly impossible can become possible. Dave and the other members of the team are an example of that and we are proud to be able to support them.
“As official supporters of the GB paraclimbing team we are enabling dedicated and passionate individuals, who have already fought against the odds, to realise their aims and aspirations and we are very honoured to do so.”