Paralympic, World, European and British Champion, Andy Lewis MBE, joins the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Andy has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Andy represented Great Britain in the triathlon and in 2016, became the first person to win the Paralympic, World, European and British Champion titles in one year.
“Since overcoming my battle with mental health following a motorbike accident in 1999 that resulted in having my leg amputated in 2005, I have a far greater understanding of the mental health challenges faced by young adults. Since then, I have been involved with supporting children, young adults and students to share my story in the hope that it gives them the confidence to seek help if they need and to look out for others.
Far too often, mental health is not spoken of and it should be; there is nothing embarrassing about sharing emotions, feelings and difficulties; it is a brave thing to do and ensures that the right support can be made available. We need to do all we can to ensure young adults avoid suffering from long-term mental health difficulties by supporting charities who provide vital services and support. It is also important to signpost anyone who needs support and to know the signs so that we can help friends and make sure they do not feel isolated or alone. I am delighted to see that BRIT have partnered with PAPYRUS- Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and the Charlie Waller Trust; all these charities are delivering life-saving support and need funding to continue to help young adults and students.
BRIT are collaborating and uniting the Education, Sport and Charity sectors to support and improve the mental health and fitness of millions of students and young adults throughout the UK. Their BRIT 2021 Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for every UK university and college to embrace the challenge, enter a team and encourage students and staff participation. Teams can be a whole university, students’ union, campus, department or even a sports team; the idea is to involve as many students and staff as possible.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is enabling students and young adults 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, all while improving mental health and fitness. I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and look forward to encouraging and supporting students at the University of Gloucestershire as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge; I also wish students and staff at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and the University of Bristol, the very best of luck with their BRIT 2021 Challenge.
I also hope to encourage my fellow Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to join me as BRIT Ambassadors, so that we can encourage universities and colleges throughout the UK to enter teams and take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge in support of young adult mental health”.
Andy was born with Petit Mal; a form of epilepsy which generally lasts around twenty seconds. Sufferers become non-responsive and although Andy was treated for this, life was never the same. He went through childhood not knowing how the epilepsy would affect him and at school he had difficulty learning. It wasn’t until quite recently that Andy was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, which he has been living with all his life and was never identified.
When he was younger, Andy represented Gloucestershire as a Cross-Country runner. When Andy was sixteen, just one week before he joining the British Army, he had a motorcycle accident. After multiple surgeries, infections and several years of agonising pain, Andy elected to have his leg removed at the age of 22.
Between 1999 and 2002, Andy completed his degree in Business Administration at the University of Gloucestershire. In 2016, the university awarded Andy an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy for his work with children and supporting others through difficult times.
Despite the trauma of his disability, Andy overcame adversity. He worked for Airbus from 2007 to 2014, and then between 2015 and 2018, Andy completed his Master’s degree in Engineering Technology at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
From 2014 to 2019, Andy was an elite triathlete with Paralympics GB.
In 2016, Andy became the first person to win the Paralympic, World, European and British Champion titles in one year.
Andy was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for services to triathlon. He has also been recognised by Bristol University for his work with prosthetics.
In 2018, Andy founded Bespoke Mentoring and helps people from all walks of life to discover their true potential.
In addition to his professional mentoring, Andy is a motivational speaker. He talks candidly about his highs and lows; the mental health challenges that resulted in Andy attempting suicide in 2007 when his injuries reached breaking point and how he lived life beyond injury that resulted in his successes in sport.
Andy has also learnt to fly and gained his pilot licence as an amputee.