We are delighted that Hannah has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Hannah is a four time Paralympian, three time World Champion and disabled sailing advocate.
“I am delighted to join the BRIT Ambassador family and champion BRIT’s annual UK-wide challenges in order to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an exciting and inspired opportunity for every university, college and student union to enter teams and encourage their students and staff to take part.
As a former student at Loughborough University and having lived with a disability all my life, I can understand the challenges faced by young adults; particularly those facing mental health challenges and living with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding existing mental health conditions, therefore it is vital that young adults and students are provided with help and encouragement to improve their mental health and fitness.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge has been designed to enable young adults of all abilities to participate on campus or at home and add their miles to their team’s 2,021 mile target. To ensure young adults and students have the opportunity to take part, we need every UK university and college to enter teams.
BRIT Ambassadors are Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers who are uniting to support and improve young adult mental health. I urge my fellow Great Britain sailors to join our BRIT Ambassador family so, together, we can support young adults and students at every UK university and college.
I look forward to encouraging students and staff at Loughborough University and the Royal Hospital School to take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge and supporting their team’s efforts.”
As Hannah grew up, learning to sail became a way to cope with the bullying around her disability and provided her with a sense of freedom. Sailing taught Hannah a strong independence that has defined her professional career as yachtswoman. Hannah learnt how to race from her parents and by the age of 13, her talent was clearly evident. Alongside the like of a young Sir Lewis Hamilton, Hannah became the focus of an ITV advert filmed to encourage young people into sport. Later that year she became the youngest ever winner of the BT YJA Young Sailor of the Year award for her achievements at the Mirror World Championships. The award opened many doors including meeting Dame Ellen MacArthur, the sportswoman Hannah aspired to be like, who took Hannah racing aboard the trimeran “Fonci Kingfisher” during the 1999 Round the Island race. At 15, she received a call that would change her life forever from Andy Cassell, the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Gold Medallist in the Sonar Class, who invited Hannah to train with him. She was selected for the Sonar Development Squad and over fifteen years of training with some of Great Britain’s finest sailors, coaches and support staff, Hannah has gone on to win multiple World, European and National Championships over several sailing classes. In the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games, Hannah competed as the only female to race in the physically demanding Sonar keelboat class. To date, her team is the only one to have their names on the Sonar World Championship trophy three times. To read more about Hannah’s inspiring story, please visit her website. Hannah works closely with anti-bullying charity, Ditch the Label.