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Hannah Cockroft: ‘Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Inspired Me’

April 14, 2021

A wheelchair racer said taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award helped start her Paralympic career.

Hannah Cockroft MBE, DL has won five Paralympic, 10 world and two European titles, in the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 races.

She said the physical part of the award was her “step” into sport.

She has since given out gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and said Prince Philip was “so interested” in every participant’s story.

Ms Cockroft, who is from Halifax, West Yorkshire, and studied at Coventry University, completed her bronze award at school.

“[It] completely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was 14 years old, and as a disabled child I relied on my parents a lot so the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award really gave me the confidence of independence.

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is made up of four different sections and one of them is to learn a physical skill which was my step into Paralympic sport.

“You probably could say without the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award I wouldn’t be a Paralympic champion.”

Ms Cockroft, who met Prince Philip several times, said he was a “lovely man” who “immediately put you at ease”.

She added: “I remember when I met him one of the first times he was really worried about how to address me as a wheelchair user.

“He was saying, ‘I am worried I can’t look you in the eye. Do you want me to crouch down next to you? Do you mind if I stand up and look down on you, but that doesn’t seem right’.

“He was really concerned as to the etiquette of speaking to a wheelchair user,” she said.

“The fact that he took the time out to genuinely wonder and worry about how to do that was massive.”

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