EFDS Awards


Was at the NPower EFDS North East Sports Awards yesterday at Durham’s Riverside Cricket Ground. The picture above is of all the happy winners on the day. So you’ve probably guessed that I won an award – I won the Male Sports Personality for the third time, it’s always great to pick up awards at any level, I’ve now received four awards since Beijing and that is very pleasing. People often ask me if I get sick of picking awards up but you don’t get awards for doing badly, so it shows I’m still doing well and being successful, and you can never get sick of that. Others might get sick of me winning awards but I don’t think there’s much I can do about that, hopefully they enjoy my speeches. Here’s a pic of me getting the award from NPower’s Gary Doig (right).npower-awards2

npower-awardsI was moaning a bit on the day – very much tongue in cheek – that I never get a cheque at these awards, to which everyone told me that was because I was loaded – yeah, I wish. Anyhoo, I was cruelly asked to present a large cheque to a very deserving young swimmer, Josef Craig, who is going to go on to big things. As for me, apparently I’m too old and tight to be getting cheques, but at least I can fill my crystal decanter with dark rum. Yum.

npower-awards4On this photo is Faye Stevenson, winner of the Female Personality award. It was a really close category and Sam Gray, from my training group at Gateshead, was an unlucky runner up for the second year running. Great to see so much talent coming through in this region.

I need a haircut, or so I’ve been told, so I’ll be trying to organise that this bank holiday weekend – suggestions welcome. I’ll also be going to a stag do and celebrating my auntie’s 50th wedding anniversary. I won’t be watching the Ricky Hatton fight though, I love Ricky but I think he’s selling himself out by always fighting in America, to the huge cost for his British fans. I also can’t see how this fight can be billed as the decider for the best ‘pound for pound’ crown, when the best boxer in the world – Floyd Mayweather Jr – is sitting at home picking his nose because there’s no one worth fighting.

Follow me on Twitter!

Post Holiday Blues

Had a great little three day break down in sunny Southampton for Rachel’s friend Jo’s wedding (I think that just about makes grammatical sense). It was good to get away from everything and even the 7 hour train journeys there and back weren’t so bad, although I nearly didn’t get off the train at Birmingham on the way back and almost headed on to Manchester, which is somewhere I don’t like going at the best of times. The only gripes I have about trains at the minute is that the wheelchair space is on its own with the two seats in front facing the other way, so you either have to sit on your own or find seats that aren’t reserved – and if you can’t get out of your wheelchair you’ve got no choice, which is canny bad I think. Also the wheelchair space is located in the quiet carriage, I disagree with this as the wheelchair user has no choice over which carriage they can go in and may need to use the phone, and may need to drink beer and chat on – much to the annoyance of old men, as I found out. Rant over. The wedding went very well and everyone and everything looked beautiful, I must say thanks to Jo’s dad for the free bar too. Will post some pictures when wor lass bothers to send me them.

Before I went to Southampton, I went as one of the guests of honour to Benfield School Sports College’s Colours Evening, which is like their annual awards night. The students were given a great show at the people’s theatre in Heaton, as I was joined by a Commonwealth gold medalist swimmer, a Gladiator and Jackie Charlton to give out the awards and say some inspirational things. It all seemed to go down very well with the young people, and I was loving my Kylie Minogue style microphone. Again, will post photos soon.

A clearish week this week this week, tonight is crunch time for NUFC and not winning will pretty much condem us to relegation, at least its exciting I guess.

Boom and Bust

All peaks have to start as troughs – that’s what I reckon anyway.

My post-competing-crap depression has gone now and its on and up – I’m taking a few weeks from throwing and will give it another go in June when I have a couple of competitions lined up. I’m not doing the Paralympic World Cup this year as it’s too much too soon, plus it’s not my favourite competition – mainly because I’ve always thrown rubbish at it, but hopefully it will still be around next year so I can finally win the bloody thing.

Got a busy month coming up in my social life which is always good now and again, the last few months have been hard as I’ve been basically doing my winter training. Me and the missus are off to a wedding in Southampton this weekend which will be some good R&R, although I’ve been told there’s nowt much down there.

Was at the Gateshead Kestrals awards night yesterday at Kingston Park, the Kestrals is a sports club for young people with a disability. Liz Neale runs it and is doing a great job creating opportunities for kids with varying levels of disability to try a whole host of sports from boccia to skiing. I always bang on about providing opportunities but I really do think its key in finding new talent. The Kestrals are also developing very talented youngsters for the future.

I’m giving out awards for Benfield Sports College tonight, last job before my mini break, should be fun.

Finally, I have a new sponsor! Mannatech supply sports nutrition products and have accepted me onto their team of athletes that they support.


There’s a star
in the sky
with a tear in it’s eye.

It’s burning ambition
is so wasted.
Never been tasted.

Just too far away
to change the tide,
to obtain some pride.

It sits in isolation
hoping for a spark
to get out of the dark.

Throwing Sticks is Bad for Your Health

Well, things didn’t quite go how I would have liked down at Perrivale for the first competition of the season – and that’s me putting it mildly. So lets get the bad part over with, I threw 27.98 metres, my worst distance since 2003 and worst at Perrivale since 2000.  Still, I’m not too down hearted as things really did transpire against me from the start, the 8 hour journey from hell didn’t help going down to London on Friday, that included a burnt out car, 3 car pile up, and 20 miles on the M25 that took 1 and a half hours. Needless to say I woke up on Saturday pretty stiff and sore, and when I got to the track to find a big head wind, my misery was complete. For those of you who think I’m making excuses – yes I am, and I don’t care. The wind is a big factor in club throwing, more than any other type of throws. When you consider a club weighs 400 grams and isn’t aerodynamic like a javelin or discus, then yes the wind can have a big effect. The legal wind speed in the club is -/+ 3 metres per second, I’m pretty sure the wind at Perrivale was around that so factoring that in, I can estimate that my throws are in the air about 3 seconds, so the wind took about 9 metres off my throw, which means I really threw about 36 metres. Hahaha of course I made that up, but you have to look at the positives. It was a bad day at the office and one to forget, but it was nice to go back to Perrivale after a 2 year absence, I started going there 9 years ago and it’s a very nice track. The guy in charge there is doing a great job and is so positive about disability athletics. They recently got a new club house and a stand, and they look great. Just need a wind break next.


I’m not a religous person in any sense, infact I think it causes many of the problems in the world – however it does help a great many people get through their day to day life. When used properly it is a very powerful tool, belief is in short supply right now and giving people something that they can believe in is a big thing indeed. I have to admit that the Bible is a very cool book, whether it’s the greatest fiction or non-fiction book of all time will be debated forever, but there’s so much you can take from it. Like many people I’m sure, I haven’t read the whole thing cover to cover, but I keep finding bits I like, here are some of my favourites:

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love – 1 Corinthians 16, 13-14

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres – 1 Corinthians 13, 4-8

Even though I walk
       through the valley of the shadow of death, 
       I will fear no evil,
       for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me. –  Psalm 23

Eating Turkey on a Sunday is Like Nailing an Egg to the Cross – Says Bishop

Easter weekend is over, and however you celebrated the going and coming of Jesus F Christ, I hope you did it well. Of course athletes don’t get bank holidays so it was business as usual for me, it was actually quite wierd being at home for Easter Bank Holiday as I’m normally away sunning myself in Portugal or some other hot climate on warm weather training, but due to the situation with my hip we weren’t able to organise anything this year. Still, the 2009 season starts this weekend, I’m hoping for more good weather and a big throw to show that I can still mix it even with a knackered hip.

I’m on a self imposed betting ban until I go to Aintree in May, and its going well, it’s a bit like my own little lent period. Big well done to my girlfriend who managed to go 6 weeks without chocolate, she’s a better woman than I am.

RIP Colin Rains

colinrainsSad news that a great man in disability sport recently passed away. Colin Rains, who virtually transformed CP Sport into what it is today and helped provide opportunities for people with a disability – particularly those with cerebral palsy. Many athletes past and present, including myself, would not have achieved what they have been able to without the hard work, dedication and persistence of Colin. We will forever be in his debt for his belief in equality and that everyone deserved a chance to take part and compete  in sport. He stayed heavily involved with CP Sport even after a severe stroke and will be missed massively by all people connected to disability sport.

On another note, just like a thoroughbred race horse – of which I failed to identify any over the Grand National meeting – I’m going to be given a run out at Perrivale, London in the first CP Grand Prix on April 18th. I like competing at Perrivale, lets hope for good conditions and I think we could go big.

It’s Crazy Season

training6As promised, here’s some cool shots of me training from last year, showing the guns off by throwing a big ball at a wall. Today I was at St. James’ Park talking about inclusion at the Newcastle SEN Conference – Quite off topic for this blog but it was an interesting day to be at St. James’ with the news that Big Al is coming back to save the Toon. How do I feel about it? Very suprised but very happy, and wish it had happened months ago, it’s been clear for a long time that the staff weren’t right for NUFC, but I fear that the damage has already been done. It may be too much for even Alan to stop us being relegated, but you never know, and at least it’s got everyone’s peckers up.

training4I’ve got some fun links for you to get stuck into. A friend of mine Helen Ann Convery is doing a sponsored parachute jump for the British Paralympic Association on the 15th August, I think the idea is that we give Helen lots of money to jump out of a plane – go to http://www.crazyhelen.com/ for all the details.

Here’s a link to a video on Facebook of me doing karaoke – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/video/video.php?v=144851080161&ref=mf – I tried to put some videos on here but it didn’t like them for some reason.