GBWR has announced the appointment of Jason Leonard OBE as its first Patron. Leonard was one of the most successful England Rugby players, winning Grand Slams in 1991, 1992, 1995 & 2003; the 2003 Rugby World Cup and a British and Irish Lions Test series (on the 1997 tour of South Africa). Leonard’s appointment furthers strengthens the relationship between the able-bodied game and wheelchair rugby, and sees him join England international Mike Brown, who is an ambassador for the sport.
One of the first activities of his role was to present international caps to the 12 wheelchair rugby athletes selected to represent Paralympics GB in Rio 2016. The presentation of international caps follows a long rugby tradition and is very special for the athletes, GB Captain Chris Ryan comments, ‘To have a rugby legend like Jason Leonard join as our Patron and present our caps is awesome – we are looking forward to getting on with the tournament and showing what we can do against the best.’
Kevin Aitchison, Chairman of Trustees GBWR comments, ‘Jason embodies all of the values we as a sport and a charity hold dear. He is widely respected and his leadership, humility and ability to inspire others makes him a valuable asset to have on board’.
Leonard comments, ‘It’s an honour to be asked to be the first Patron of this amazing sport. I first got to know the game when I was squeezed into a chair to take part in a charity event at Hazlemere Rugby club back in 1991. It’s the most exciting of sports to watch and I am always inspired by those who play the game’.