Graham Birkett – Wheelchair Sports Coach
Graham was born with scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and didn’t start walking until aged five following numerous operations on his feet. Then he was off, running everywhere and climbing everything he could. Attending mainstream education and doing a lot of match fishing and shooting in his spare time a true country boy.
Always wanting to work Graham went to college for four years to studying joinery and cabinet making and then worked alongside his Father and brother for several years. Wanting independence Graham went self-employed working for a number of different people over the years. In the summer of 1993 he was working for a customer who was a wheelchair user, Graham been Graham had to have a play in the old chairs. He got rather proficient in a wheelchair leaving the job and never gave it another thought.
On a cold wet night December 18th 1993, Graham was involved in a car accident, that left him paralysed and if you ask him he will bore you with it all. Graham came out of hospital three months two weeks and four hours later in a wheelchair. After a short time returning to Sheffield to start playing wheelchair basketball for the Sheffield Steelers going to Austria, Holland also Glasgow he also had a go at athletics winning at the nationals in his first year, giving it up because it was too easy.
Water skiing was Grahams next sport and within a year after a lot of hard work he made it on to the British team skiing in the 1999 world championships. In 2000 he became the British jump and trick Champion and overall champion later in the same year going to European Championships and retaining his British jump record after breaking his hip earlier in 2001. Graham then went out to train in Australia for the winter (six months) training for the 2001 world championship in Melbourne. One week before the world championships he broke his heel and his knee which inevitable meant game over (just skiing for fun now).
Graham took up clay pigeon shooting, shooting to a very good level and continued to play basketball now for Jaguars WBC based in Newark. Resumed work as cabinet maker in 2002 until April 2010 when he started working for the Active Lincolnshire as a Wheelchair Sports Coach. Working throughout the county in schools, youth clubs and other settings coaching wheelchair sports and developing clubs.
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