Paul McNieve gives support to grants
BRAY businessman and motivational speaker Paul McNeive is ambassador to the Douglas Bader Foundation, which has announced its first funding package in the Republic of Ireland.
The foundation was established by the family of the double-amputee World War Two pilot. It is supporting the para-triathlon programme in Triathlon Ireland as part of its mission to advance and promote the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of people who are affected by limb loss, or are otherwise physically disabled. Like Douglas Bader, Paul McNeive overcame a double amputation of his legs to lead an extraordinary life, rising in his career to become the managing director of property company Savills and becoming the first double amputee in the world to gain a helicopter pilots licence.
Paul credits much of his achievements to the life lessons he learned after becoming an amputee at the age of 20.
‘When I left school I didn’t think I would be good enough to be a pilot. 20 years later when I have no legs, I now decide - I am going to be a helicopter pilot. And it’s only a matter of time, even though nobody in the world had ever done it before.
‘ The potential we have is unbelievable... everyone has far more potential than they ever realise because they never have to dig down and really find it. For me losing my legs was a life changing experience but it opened up entire new worlds and taught me what I could do.’
Sir Douglas Bader was one of the legendary figures of the Second World War.
Despite losing both his legs in a plane crash, he went on to become an RAF fighter ace and squadron leader.
His exploits during the war, and his continuous attempts to escape a prisoner of war camp after he was shot down, were immortalised in the book and film ‘Reach for the Sky‘.
Eamonn Tilley, Para-triathlon Technical Director with Triathlon Ireland, said the support the Douglas Bader Foundation has provided will be a huge boost for the para-triathlon team.
The Douglas Bader Foundation is also grant aiding Archery Ireland, who are incorporating a programme of archery for people with disabilities into their activities.
Irish paratriathletes Catherine Walsh and Aidan McGlynn with Paul McNeive, Ambassador for The Douglas Bader Foundation.