Matt Hampson

I am not a positive person by nature, at least I don’t feel I am.

I know that won’t come as a shock to many of you, to some it will be more of a surprise as I make a determined effort to be positive and lately I think I’ve made a good go of it, however I don’t always succeed. This week has been one of those times in some aspects where I’ve been a bit slack, where as in others I’ve taken a ball and run with it, so, where I’m succeeding is with work. To put it simply I love the new job. Its busy and stimulating; I can’t get enough of it. I’m meeting loads of interesting people and really feel like I’m making a difference. I’m really wanting to focus on this and be a success. (I’m currently writing this blog at work, which should indicate how moved I am to actually blog)

The days however, are pretty long and tiring, which is making me a lazy git at home. I’m struggling to motive myself to get off my backside at home and into the saddle. I’ve no excuses for this, I have a ride to complete two weeks Sunday; I need to be out on the bike and training, I just cannot be bothered lately. I went out yesterday but I had to really force myself to do that. I feel ashamed that I’m like this, I really want to do well on the ride, to do it for my dad and for Winston’s Wish a great charity that needs all the support it can get. However, no matter how much I tell myself that, it’s not enough motivation, so the Ps3 gets fired up instead. What I need is a kick up the rear….

Which brings me to Matt Hampson. Matt cannot physically give me a kick up the backside because he is paralysed from the neck down. Like me he also played as a prop at rugby. He was a hell of a lot better at it than me though, and looked set for a long and illustrious career for England. All that changed when a scrum collapsed and Matt dislocated his neck. Matt will be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life, he will never breath on his own and needs a ventilator to breath for him. I just finished reading his book, ‘Engage: The Matt Hampson Story’ and I urge everyone to buy a copy and read it. Don’t borrow it, buy it, because all the proceeds go to the Matt Hampson Foundation which helps people with serious sporting injuries. Matt never set out to be an inspiration to people, to have the spotlight on him, to get up every day and to raise money for charity and to help other people. He could have given up and led in a bed and not bothered and no one would have thought any less of him after all he has been through. Yet he didn’t, he probably lives a more fulfilling life than most people who walk around and breath on their own. Because he is living a selfless life, doing all he can to help others before his own personal selfish needs. He deals with it all with a great sense of humour and warmth. If you want to find out more about his story and support his cause then please visit:

I was reading his book in the refectory at work on lunch for the last few days and there were times I had to put the book down as I thought I was going to cry. He is so honest and candid, he holds nothing back. He puts his dignity on the line. The guy is still only in his early twenties ,how he can go through all this is beyond me. The bit that resonates with me is his statement: ‘maybe this will make me a better person’ How he can think that with all that has happened blows my mind. He talks about losing a girl he loved as it wouldn’t work and that bit had me welling up; the thought of losing Em, well I can’t even think about it! I’ve read Lance Armstrong’s book and whilst it inspired me, it never moved me; Matt’s did. I can relate to him, he loves rugby almost as much as I do. He likes to drink, he has a sense of humour and likes a good time with the lads. He was quiet and not sure of himself, traits I feel I have. It made me realise that what happened to Matt, could happen to me, all I have could be taken away. What would I do then? Would I be like Matt and get busy living? Why wait for that scenario, why not get on with stuff now.

Now I’m only human, I won’t succeed at this aim every day, but I want to be more like Matt Hampson. I don’t want to worry about the barriers, my tiredness, my attitude. I just want to do. I need to succeed at this goal, not for any of my own selfish reasons; the accomplishment ; the pride etc. but because I can raise awareness for Winston’s Wish and make money for charity. (If I get pride from it and it makes Em think I’m more manly as an added bonus I won’t complain mind!) So in future when I get home I’m going to forget about my tiredness, I’ll don my lycra, put the helmet on, clip my shoes into the pedals and ride. Ride because I can, because I enjoy it. Because Matt Hampson has inspired me and from time to time we all need a bit of inspiration. A friend of mine, Julie is a wheel chair user. I won’t tell her story as its her story, but she has had a tough time of it of late. She is much closer to home than Matt and her live for the moment attitude is infectious, when I need to be motivated, I’ll think of her and Matt and of their attitude and  think of my dad, yelling at me to peddle faster and get up the hill. Julie is racing in the Bristol wheelchair race this sunday, in spite of not long having recovered from some pretty major surgery. She never complains, she just gets on with it. If you can spare some money then please support her at the link below:


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