Leon is 38 years old and lives in Chaddesden, Derby. He is married to Victoria and has three young children Molly, Megan & Michael. Leon can talk passionately about overcoming the challenge of being born with a disability – Cerebral Palsy which predominantly affects the right side of his body, to achieve his life’s ambitions and the rocky road in between!! Having attended mainstream school, Leon endured the frustration of being overlooked for the school sports teams and was also subjected to bullying from his peers. However ultimately in adulthood he has been able to realise his childhood dreams and so much more!
Leon was a Goalkeeper with the England Cerebral Palsy Football Team from 2003-2011 and competed in international tournaments across Europe and the rest of the world including:- Cerebral Palsy World Cup – Argentina 2003;Cerebral Palsy World Championships – USA 2005 Arafura Games; Australia 2009. The highlight of Leon’s sporting career was being selected as a member of the Great Britain team which competed at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008 – indeed he was Derby’s only representative at the Games.
Leon won the Derby City Disabled Sports Person of the Year Award in 2008 & 2009 and the Sports Person of the Year Award in 2011. More recently Leon was the First Olympic Torchbearer of the Day as the flame left his home City of Derby in June 2012. Leon is a Trustee of Derby County’s Community Trust- focusing on Disability Football provision across Derbyshire. He is a Player representative on the National Cerebral Palsy League Committee and a Player/Mentor for the East Midlands Cerebral Palsy Elite Football Squad. Leon is the Vice Chair of Governors at a city primary school and was recently asked to become the Chancellor of Derby Children’s University. Leon has worked for Derby Homes, an arms length management organisation of Derby City Council since 2003. He has a degree in politics and a keen interest in current affairs.
Leon has a love of music, citing the Pet Shop Boys as his favorite act. Leon tells us how he felt when he was asked to be a Sporting Ambassador for CP Sport: “I was delighted to be asked by Cerebral Palsy Sport to be their Sporting Ambassador for Football. It’s fantastic to be able to get involved in helping develop and grow the Football programme and inspire children and young people with Cerebral Palsy. Watching children get so much both physically and mentally from taking part in sport is so rewarding!”