Hello, I'm Mike, a long-standing member of the RiDC consumer panel.
I was blinded in a firework accident at the age of ten. Through my love of, and involvement in, sport, I rebuilt my life, and developed two different careers in the process.
From leaving a special school with few academic qualifications, I eventually finished my social work career as assistant director for children’s services in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Working in the charity sector, in 2001 I established Vision 2020 UK which is now called Vision UK, retiring as CEO in 2012.
I now undertake after-dinner and motivational speaking engagements to raise awareness and to challenge perceptions of disability. My closing remarks are usually:
“Disability is a state of mind, my state, and your mind. You cannot change my state, but hopefully I have said something that has changed your mind.”
- chairman of my local sight loss charity, Sight Action Havering
- an active member of DPTAC, the Department for Transport’s Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
- a Trustee of the Primary Club, the Disability Sports Development Trust
My parallel career in sport has been as a competitor and as a manager. Having represented Britain in five Winter Paralympic Games, I then went on to manage at a further eight winter and summer games, standing down as chairman of the British Paralympic Association in 2008. As a member of the successful 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid team, I was proud to serve as a director on the London 2012 organising committee.
I am honorary vice president of the British Paralympic Association and of Metro Blind Sport, a sports club in London.
I received an OBE in 2005 and then a CBE in 2009 for my contribution to disability sport. I was made a deputy lieutenant of London in 2017, and I have three honorary degrees from London Metropolitan University, Anglia Ruskin University, and the University of East London (on whose board I served as a governor for nine years).