Great Britain Paralympian, Alistair Patrick-Heselton, joins the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Alistair has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. In 2006, Alistair survived a tragic car crash and suffered severe head trauma as a result of the accident. He went on to represent Team GB at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, playing in the 7-a-Side Cerebral Palsy (and Brain Injury) team. Since retirement, Alistair has supported children and young adults through many Athlete Mentor roles to inspire and encourage them to lead an active life.
“Having learnt to come to terms with my brain injury and disability, working with young adults and children as an Athlete Mentor with The Football Association, Youth Sport Trust and Dame Kelly Holmes Foundation, and being part of Team GB, I know first-hand how challenging life can be for so many young adults; particularly those who are vulnerable, isolated, living with disabilities and who are struggling with their mental health.
COVID-19 is compounding the existing mental health challenges faced by many young people and students; one in four young people were unable to access the mental health support they needed during the 2020 lockdown and their wellbeing must be looked after now, in order to avoid long-term effects on their mental health. the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are adopting an inspirational and collaborative approach to their BRIT 2021 Challenge this year;; they are partnering with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and The Charlie Waller Trust, so that all donations raised through the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between the five charities. BRIT are also signposting and raising awareness of Samaritans and Shout to ensure that every visitor to their sites are aware of support services available to them should they need it. The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an inclusive opportunity for students and young adults throughout the UK to unite wherever they are (at home or on campus) and take part in a feel-good challenge to raise vital funds for charities who support young adult mental health. I have never seen a UK-wide inclusive mental health and fitness challenge of this scale before; the challenge is enabling young adults and students of all abilities to take part in an inclusive activity to improve mental health and fitness with many ways to take part; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and urge fellow Paralympian, Olympians and athletes to join me so that together, we can inspire universities and colleges throughout the UK to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge and enter teams. I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at Milton Keynes College, the University of Buckingham and the University of Bedfordshire, as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge”.
A promising footballer who went on to represent Team GB at the Paralympic Games, Alistair Patrick-Heselton’s story is one of perseverance and determination. Starting out at Wycombe Wanderers as a schoolboy, Alistair showed great potential from an early age, and was soon snapped up by Queen’s Park Rangers. Alistair was a professional footballer with Queens Park Rangers (QPR) between 1999 and 2003. He was prolific at Under-17 level, and featured a number of times of the reserve side before suffering a severe cruciate ligament injury. After stints at a number of different clubs, Alistair opted to combine playing semi-professional football with studying for a career in quantity surveying. In 2006, Alistair was involved in a car accident which claimed the life of his best friend, fracturing his skull and spending two months in a coma. Alistair later resumed consciousness but was informed that he may never walk again, seemingly ending his football career. Four years on, Alistair was contacted by then-England and Team GB Paralympic coach Lyndon Lynch, who convinced him to try out for the Cerebral Palsy (CP) team, consisting of players with cerebral palsy and other brain injuries. Since making his Team GB debut at the 2011 CPISRA Championships, Alistair became a shining star for his country, playing a crucial role in the lead-up to the 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup final. He led the fightback in the final against Brazil, pulling back England’s second goal in a courageous 4-2 defeat. He went on to represent Team GB at the Paralympic Games four months later, laying on three assists and finding the back of the net against Argentina. Alistair was a Paralympic Footballer with the Football Association, representing Great Britain, from 2011 to 2016. Alistair now acts as a mentor and speaker for the next generation of footballers, working with the Premier Football Association (PFA), Premier League and regional Football Associations (FAs) to guide and inspire children across the country. Alistair was chosen by The Football Association (FA) to be inducted to the National Football Museum Hall of Fame 'Football For All' category in 2017. Since 2012, Alistair has been self-employed as an Athlete Mentor and Inspirational Speaker through AP-H Inspired. Between 2012 and 2018, Alistair was an Athlete Mentor with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust; working with disadvantaged young people and mentoring those wanting to improve their personal and social skills to make themselves more employable. From 2014, Alistair was invited to become an Athlete Mentor at the Youth Sport Trust; he works across the education sector, using his sporting background to inspire young people and be creative. Alistair help to raise their aspirations and build the resilience they need to succeed. Between 2014 and 2015, Alistair was an Athlete Mentor with the Jaguar Academy of Sport after having been a ‘Rising star himself', working with the top 50 of Great Britain’s young sports stars and using his own experiences to guide and help them excel into high performance as senior athletes. In 2018, Alistair became a Role Model for The Football Association to inspire elite footballers affected by Cerebral Palsy and/or Brain Injury. Since 2019, Alistair has been a Guest Speaker with School Speakers.