I was a regular at Aspire’s National Training Centre for many years, playing wheelchair rugby with the London Broncos, now the London Wheelchair Rugby Club, and travelling on several European tours. I’m pleased to say the club is now number one in Europe. There were only about seven of us playing when I started in London. Now there are dozens all over the country.

I became tetraplegic at 17 following a skiing accident. I had my rehab in a brilliant spinal unit in Geneva; the doctor in charge of the unit was a paraplegic, so I knew there was life after spinal injury.

Although my pre-injury life centred on sport (my favourites were skiing, rugby and boxing), I managed to scrape into Oxford where I stayed for ages, finally leaving in 1982 with a couple of degrees.

But I'm still looking

When I finally dragged myself away from academic life, which had mostly comprised of loafing around and drinking, I discovered, to my shock, that I had become a social worker. It was temporary. Within a short time, I moved to London where somebody kindly appointed me director of a disability arts company. I also got to make a few documentaries for the newly formed Channel 4. Around this time, I became actively involved in disability politics.

And then I needed a change. So I moved to San Francisco where I’d found a job running a medical research foundation. The access was a revelation. Unlike in London, there was almost no place I could not get into. Due to the lack of physical barriers, I felt much less disabled living in the US than in the UK.

Man sitting in a cafe

I returned to London and went back into television. In the late 1990s I took up playing wheelchair rugby full-time. The new millennium brought with it a diversity of new roles, including as a life coach. When I turned 50, I more or less lost the plot entirely and emigrated to Costa Rica. That didn’t work out either. But I’m still looking.

So: what have I learnt? Well, although there’s a lot that’s tough about being in a wheelchair, it’s perfectly possible to lead a rich and varied life if you’re prepared to look for it. Don’t let your disability lead you to say, “I can’t”, when you can say, “I can”. It takes some work and application but the payback is that the quality of your life will be hugely improved. Just don’t hold back.