A DISABLED athlete who is to hand-cycle around the country for a good cause has been training in Chester.
Wheelchair fencer Adrian Derbyshire, 38, won two gold medals and three silver medals competing for Great Britain and has often found himself the victim of hate crime whether it be verbal abuse in the street or more serious issues.
His Great Britain career ended prematurely when burglars raided his home and stole equipment valued at £35,000, plus Team GB memorabilia.
Adrian is now in training for a six month tour of schools, colleges, and universities around the country where he will talk about hate crime and what effects it has on its victims.
It started off as a four week projects but due to popular demand Adrian has expanded the tour into six month.
Adrian, from Warrington, said: “I have been a victim of hate crime due to being heckled and called ‘Cripple’ the first time going out as a wheelchair user. This left me with no confidence and I isolated myself for four months before getting the courage to go out again, and also last year, I was a victim of a burglary, the sole purpose being to steal all of my Great Britain memorabilia, two Gold and three Silver medals, and the Olympic Torch and Paralympic lantern which I carried through Chester in 2012.
“They could not find my medals and torch, but instead took everything else including my GB wheelchair. This group is known for terrorising vulnerable people such as those with a disability, mental health problems and the elderly.
“With this happening to me I decided to do something about it and became official spokesman for Warrington Borough Council’s Hate Crime strategy as well as being approached by National Charity STOP HATE UK to be an ambassador against hate crime in the UK, which I accepted.”
Adrian, who takes part in a half-marathon a day on his hand-bike as part of his training, was approached by James Booth, Hannah Winstanley, Jordan Williams, and Nicky Richardson, students at Chester University, who wanted to film him as part of a documentary for their University of Chester project and they filmed him alongside the River Dee in Chester.
“James approached me to do their project and I was happy to help. They have been following me through my training as I do daily half marathons.”
Adrian’s six month campaign starts next month.