Last night 100 volunteers from Swindon company, UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS), manned the Sport Relief Call Centre in Swindon. Guest of honour was Wiltshire & Swindon Sports Personality of the Year – Athlete with a Disability – Martin Lane. The phones were hot throughout the evening with people donating from across the country for Sport Relief, a charity which helps vulnerable people. Three years ago Martin Lane was one of those vulnerable people.
Martin Lane used to work 70 hours a week in his own furniture making business, snatching time with his family in his rare free time. Then his whole life turned upside down. He fell off a roof, lost the use of his legs and is now permanently in a wheelchair. It is sport, together with a strong family network, that has helped him back into mainstream life.
A disability sporting event held by Swindon Council, together with much grit and determination, has led Martin Lane to international heights and he now represents Wales in the International Wheelchair League, and this Sunday, 23 March, he will play in a qualifying match for the England national Rugby Sevens team. Locally, Martin coaches the Swindon St George wheelchair tag rugby team. This is one of the most inclusive sports and can be played by all levels of disability. Martin was recognised in the Pride of Swindon awards last week for his work in the community.
“Sport is an extension of my family. I could not live without its team spirit,” says Martin Lane. “There is a sport for everyone with a disability; it just needs a little application. I am delighted that UK SBS has given me this opportunity to help Sport Relief, a charity which does such great work for people like me who need a gentle push to get the quality back into their life”.
Last year, UK SBS took donation calls for Comic Relief to the value of over £51,000. “This year with the help of our 100 volunteers we are hoping to beat this target,” says Jonathan Preece, Chief Executive of UK SBS. The company is a not-for-profit mutual organisation, providing shared business services to the public sector to ultimately save taxpayers money.
Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. Since 2002, Sport Relief has raised over £195million.