Paralympics diversity and inclusion day

With the ParalympicsGB athletes now home from Pyeongchang 2018 having won a record haul of medals, BP hosted an internal diversity and inclusion day in Sunbury, based on the winter Paralympics

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The morning began with a networking breakfast followed by a panel discussion chaired by Peter Duff, head of diversity & inclusion (EMEA). The panellists were Lord Chris Holmes, parliamentarian and nine times Paralympic gold medallist; Richard Whitehead, double Paralympic champion and BP athlete ambassador; Sophie Warner, Paralympian and TV presenter; plus Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Jennifer Kehoe – Britain's most decorated winter Paralympians who won gold, two silvers and a bronze in Pyeongchang.

The panel considered how BP's support for the British Paralympic Association and ParalympicsGB athletes can inform the company's vision for inclusion and accessibility.

'You can learn a lot by employing people with disabilities,' Richard Whitehead pointed out. 'They have something different to bring to the table, not least of all by making disability normal.'

Menna Fitzpatrick said, 'It's about being differently abled and how you can excel.'

Lord Holmes felt that, 'Talent is everywhere but opportunity isn't yet.'

For Sophia Warner, sport had provided her with a special break. 'Being a Paralympic athlete taught me to be the best person I can.'

After the discussion there was time to talk to guests, take selfies and acquire autographs. This was followed by a three hour competitive curling match on imitation ice. Around 50 teams took part, learning how to slide granite stones closer to the target or 'house'. Prizes were awarded to the winners – two women and, in second place – two men.

All the athletes – Paralympic and BP staff – took heart from Menna Fitzpatrick's view, 'Part of an athlete's duty is to inspire the next generation. Go out, be determined and you can make it!'

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