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  4. Richard Whitehead MBE in conversation Date: 18 September 2017

Richard Whitehead MBE in conversation Date: 18 September 2017

Release date:
18 September 2017
World Record holder and current Paralympic and World Champion, Richard Whitehead MBE, will be in conversation with Des Violaris, Director of UK Arts and Culture and Paralympics at bp, on Wednesday 20 September
Watch a replay

The British athlete and double leg amputee has always held a strong belief in living life without limits, leading him to become one of the world’s best sprinters.


Richard ran his first marathon in 2004 and went on to complete more than 20 marathons. Three years later, he became the first leg amputee (single or double) to break the three-hour mark for a marathon, a world record he has since reduced to two hours, 42.54 minutes. He also broke the half marathon world record with an incredible run of one hour, 14.14 minutes. He is currently the T42 200m Paralympic and World Champion.


As a double leg amputee, his life is full of challenges. Richard is a strong believer in accepting who you are and making the most of it. The 41-year-old has greater aspirations than just winning races, he wants to make a difference.


Following achieving gold medals at the EPC World Championships and Anniversary Games, Richard went on to complete the challenge of a lifetime in 2013, running 40 marathons in 40 days, from John O’Groats to Lands End, consequently becoming the marathon record holder. Covering a vast distance of 977 miles, he proved that even though he has a disability, he has overcome any barriers put in his way.


Fran Hegyi, Executive Director at Hull 2017, said: “Richard is an inspiration to us all yet humble enough to say that he is simply an athlete who has been given the opportunity to run. His disability hasn’t held him back. In fact, it has motivated him to leap forward and show the world that any barrier can be overcome. I can only begin to imagine what must inspire him to be so determined.”


The bp Cultural Visions Lecture Series explores the journey from inspiration to creativity, providing a chance to take an intimate look at the creative journey of some of the UK’s leading cultural visionaries. Featuring varied and prominent speakers, this is a fresh space to investigate and celebrate innovation and passion. A collaboration between bp and the University of Hull, it is designed to spark cultural conversation with monthly lectures throughout 2017.


The event will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 20 September in Middleton Hall at the University of Hull as part of the bp Cultural Visions Lecture Series. 


Book online at: hull2017.co.uk/culturalvisions and culturenet.co.uk 


For media enquiries, please contact Sian Alexander in the University of Hull press office on 01482 462193 or s.alexander@hull.ac.uk

Notes to editors

bp support for UK Arts & Culture

In the UK, bp is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans over 50 years. bp’s investment in long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture www.bp.com/arts.


bp is a global energy company with wide reach across the world’s energy system. The energy we produce serves to power economic growth and lift people out of poverty. In the future, the way heat, light and mobility are delivered will change. We aim to anchor our business in these changing patterns of demand, rather than in the quest for supply. We have a real contribution to make the world’s ambition of a low carbon future. We have operations in Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Asia and Africa, and employ around 75,000 people.


BP Hull is home to some of bp’s most innovative operations. We own and operate a chemical manufacturing facility which is the largest producer of acetic acid and acetic anhydride in Europe. bp is at the forefront of research and technology in the petrochemicals field, and Hull is one of our principle global centres for petrochemicals research and technology. In addition, Hull hosts part of bp’s Centre of Expertise in Applied Chemistry and Physics (AC&P). Earlier this year, we marked our 50thanniversary at bp Hull.  


Fast facts:

  • 74,500 employees
  • 72 countries
  • 17,810 million boe proved reserves
  • 18,000 retail sites
  •  6,000+ marine voyages completed by bp-operated and chartered vessels
  • $115 million profit attributable to bp shareholders
  • 3.3 million boepd production
  • $2.6 billion underlying replacement cost profit
  • 109% group proved reserves replacement ratio


University of Hull

Creativity lives and breathes at the University of Hull – always has done, always will.


As a catalyst for creativity we are a keen supporter of arts and culture within our community and beyond – and now, as a principal partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 we are delighted to be an integral part of the celebrations.


The University of Hull is playing a significant role in producing and hosting some of the spectacular events that form part of the Hull 2017 programme including, in the first few months alone, an exhibition of drawings from some of art’s prominent masters from Matisse to Michelangelo; a film festival dedicated to Oscar-winning Director Minghella who kick-started his career here; and an exhibition of BP Portrait Award Commissions from the National Portrait Gallery featuring famous faces from Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling. Some of this activity is being held in our newly relaunched Middleton Hall which, following a £9.5million redevelopment, is now a world-class concert and arts venue.


University of Hull students, graduates and staff are at the heart of the programming with conferences, concerts and festivals showcasing their talent. In addition, as the exclusive academic partner we are an official partner in creativity and in helping to pave the way for future generations.


For further information visit www.hull.ac.uk


Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.


The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 70 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses.


Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners - Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, bp, the British Council, British Film Institute, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group. The National Lottery has contributed more than £10m of this funding, making it the largest single funding body for Hull 2017.


For information go to www.visithull.org/