The British Ex-Service Wheelchair Sports Association (BEWSA), who have been providing rehabilitation through sport for the disabled ex-services community since 1987, have recently been awarded a grant of £8,000 from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
BEWSA state that they are not an organisation for the disabled, but of the disabled, and the organisation is run by the members.
Their story: “Since 1946, spinally injured veterans have been using sport as part of their rehabilitation, laying the foundation for the present Paralympic movement. In the USA, the ‘Paralysed Veterans of America’ decided there were enough disabled veterans in their country to hold their own games. When a small group of disabled British Veterans found out about these games early in 1987, they decided to ask if they could bring some of our veterans over to compete. A small team was then hastily put together (all international athletes who competed in both summer and winter sports), and on their return BEWSA was born.”
The sports weekends, and other things they are involved with, give our veterans something to look forward to. It doesn’t matter if veterans want to just join in and have a go at something new, or meet other people who have a sporting goal, such as Paralympians.
Edwin Thomas, Chairman of BEWSA, commented: “The support given by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity enables BEWSA to continue supporting veterans in the sports rehabilitation and welfare work we carry out in order to support our disabled wheelchair army veterans. The grant allows us to supply activities, such as a sports, or items, such as a wheelchair, to help improve the quality of the veteran’s life, or to help a veteran and their family who are in urgent need of a welfare support. Without ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, we, as a smaller charity, would not function as we do. They are there for our veterans when they need it most.”
Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity adds: “What a fantastic charity. Keeping our veterans with disabilities active, and part of a team, is vital for both their physical and mental health. The dedication teammates put in to take part in worldwide competitions is remarkable and we are honoured to support such a good cause.”