Chief Executive of Warrington Disability Partnership
In 1989, aged 31, Dave Thompson broke his neck whilst playing American Football. ‘I was sent to a rehabilitation centre to adjust to life in a wheelchair,’ he explains. ‘I lost my business and my future seemed to be basket weaving and flower arranging.’ He admits he was suicidal but his love for his wife and children pulled him through – as did slowly realising that life as he knew it wasn’t over. He has since dedicated his life to helping other disabled people realise the same. In 1991 he co-founded the Warrington Information Group for the Disabled, which has grown into today’s Warrington Disability Partnership. It provides information and support on every aspect of living – and thriving – with a disability, much of it through its Centre for Independent Living in Warrington. Throughout the vast majority of those years Dave worked in the NHS whilst pledging his time on a voluntary basis. Only in 2015 did he take on a paid position as CEO. One of his greatest achievements is founding Disability Awareness Day; an event that has been replicated across more than 10 countries and raised millions of pounds. He has been awarded an MBE for his services to disabled people. ‘I want people to know there is still a life to be lived, that it’s about what you can do, not what you can’t that really matters,’ he says.