Barry (or ‘Bazza’, as he is known to his mates) has just been featured in Disabled Daredevils – a Channel 4 documentary following disabled people who are extreme-sports fanatics. Barry really is the heart of the show, giving the others support and advice throughout. This is no surprise given the fact that he’s a bit of a veteran who has taken on all sorts of adrenaline-fueled challenges including skiing, paragliding and sky diving.

He has certainly come a long way since his injury in 1996. Swerving to avoid a badger late at night, he crashed his car and was subsequently paralysed from the neck down.

Barry first came across Back Up in 2007 when he met one of our wheelchair skills trainers. This prompted him to go on his first Back Up multi activity course.

‘‘I was a bit scared before the first time I went away, but it really broke down barriers and opened up new opportunities for me. Back Up gave me a real zest for life and I haven’t looked back since.’’

Bazza decided that he wasn’t going to let his spinal cord injury hold him back. He became a Back Up mentor and a volunteer leading ski and multi-activity courses.  He also took on the ultimate challenge of a sky dive to raise funds for Back Up – one of his major goals after getting involved with us. In June 2008, Barry – dressed as superman – dived from a height of 12,000 feet reaching a speed of almost 100 miles per hour. He says the sky dive was one of the most amazing experiences of his life.

Barry West

Barry was chosen to be an Olympic Torchbearer in 2012, carrying the flame through his local town of Rye. Now he combines being a new dad with his upcoming career as a mouth painter.

‘‘Now I wouldn’t change anything. People find that hard to believe, but it’s true. You might be born with the use of your arms and legs, but you can still lead a fulfilling life without it.”

Sky diving is possible for people with all levels of injury. Get in touch with Kat (kat@backuptrust.org.uk) to find out more about how you could get involved.

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