SportsAble Blog

Welcome to the SportsAble Blog – an exciting new blog containing stories and opinions on disability sport. Members, Patrons, Trustees and Staff will all be contributing over the forthcoming months so stay tuned for uplifting stories, thought-provoking articles and ways in which you can get involved.

Our first entry is from SportsAble’s CEO, Kerl Haslam, who talks about the legacy of the Paralympic Games and what needs to happen now to ensure the success of future events.


I was recently asked to appear on a BBC radio chat show and the topic was ‘Are we ready for Tokyo or has the London 2012 Paralympic Games’ bubble burst?’

The enthusiastic and well informed presenter Chris Hollins engaged his listeners with all the right questions: Are people still getting involved in disability sport? Do disabled people still want to get out and get active or has the good work of the Paralympic Games of 2012 been undone?

We spent a good half an hour talking about the power of the Paralympic Games and it was a great opportunity for me to explain how sport can turn someone’s life around – particularly if they have been ill or depressed or immobile for a long time – but it was also a good opportunity for me to raise some issues that many may not know about.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games was an incredible event that put disability sports on the map and the media campaigns were phenomenal, raising the profile of para sport up as an equal to all other sports.

As a result of that, SportsAble saw more people joining and more volunteers getting involved – which is fantastic for a grassroots charity like ours – and we hope that it continues.

However, those of us working in disability sports feel that the media did too good a job. It created stories and images of athletes as ‘superhuman superheroes’ and it packaged  para sports up in a neat little box as something that is thriving and in need of nothing. This is far from the truth.

Disability sports charities like ours, and the athletes themselves, are in serious need of support. As a charity, we have noticed that donations have decreased and fewer fundraisers are coming forward.

We need £300,000 a year just to keep going and to provide our members with training and support to reach their own goals. We are far from superhuman and in fact need an army of people to help us to continue to change disabled people’s lives through sport.

For our athletes, the situation is the same, even more so for the more famous faces of the Games. People have assumed that due to their successful profile that they are no longer in need of sponsorship. This has left many, once well supported athletes, without backing and with a very bleak view of what lays ahead.

Take Sophie Christiansen for example, the hugely successful ten- time Paralympic medallist and patron of SportsAble. She has been struggling to get funding for her new horse, Harry, and the equipment she needs.

The London 2012, and indeed the Rio 2016 Games, were so inspirational and they have turned us into a more accepting and aspirational nation but we are only at the very beginning of this new era of inclusion and appreciation of ability and to continue and honour the good work of the Games investment at every level needs to be made.

We are keen to talk to individuals and companies who – like many – were once inspired by the Games but who – unlike others – are willing to become educated in para sports, to stay with us on this epic journey and to support us rather than watch from afar.

We promise to inspire you every day with stories from our many members and we promise to engage you in unique activities that will leave you with a greater appreciation for life and we promise that you won’t be disappointed  as you help us change lives of disabled people who, without sport and the support they receive from us, would leave very different lives.

I look forward to hearing from you

Kerl Haslam

CEO, SportsAble




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    Posted by Ian Legge on 17 January, 2018

    Very sad to hear this. Nick was always kind and always seemed to be there! My condolences and thoughts to Gill and his family.

    Posted by South Witham Kurling Club on 17 January, 2018

    The members of South Witham Kurling Club send condolences to Mrs Gibbs and her children on the sad loss of Nick. We trust she has the support and love of her family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

    Posted by Penny Froude on 15 January, 2018

    Nick made fantastic contributions to SportsAble. I will always think of him on future Target Hexathlons & when SportsAble hold their Games Day in particular - he was always so efficient & hard working to make such days possible & to make sure things ran smoothly. I will miss his witty comments & moustache too! My thoughts are with Gill & her daughters at this terrible time.

    Posted by Anonymous on 12 January, 2018

    This is very sad news, Nick was a great man

    Posted by St Augustine's New Age Kurling Club on 11 January, 2018

    There are no words to say how sorry and surprised we were to hear of the news of Nick. New Age Kurling competitions will never be the same again, we will miss his friendly competitive spirit, great coaching and wonderful sense of humour. A truly great ambassador for the sport. Our thoughts are with Gill and the family at this difficult time.

    Posted by Geoff, Doreen and Karen on 11 January, 2018

    Such sudden and very sad news. We hope that the love and friendship of so many will bring comfort to you all at this time.

    Posted by Jean Schaffer on 10 January, 2018

    Nick was such a lovely young man and I cannot believe he is no longer with us. My heart goes out to dear Gill and her family, they must be devastated. Nick will forever be in my heart.

    Posted by Maureen and Ken Reader on 10 January, 2018

    Our thoughts go out to Gill and family at the sudden loss of Nick. Such a kind and helpful man who was so generous with his time and knowledge of New Age Kurling . Competitions will not be the same without him he will be such a great loss to the Kurling family. Fondest regards

    Posted by Martin Peacock on 09 January, 2018

    Thanks for supporting Sonia-Mae at the Sunday fun days and for helping me at table tennis. You will be truly missed.

    Posted by Shaun Newcomb on 09 January, 2018

    I was very saddened to hear this news. Nick was part of the very fabric of SportsAble and was always very enthusiastic and supportive. He had a really nice, easy going nature and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to know him. Very sincere sympathy to Gill and the family. Shaun Newcomb

    Posted by Alan and Sue Johnson on 08 January, 2018

    Our love and deepest sympathies go out to Gill and her lovely family. We are feeling for you at this sad time. As we are also feeling for all the GBKA, table tennis and SportsAble members, staff and management who will quite understandably be very shaken by this. Nick, you changed people’s lives for the better, and you cannot leave a better legacy than that. To have given so much of yourself so that others may have a better quality of life. You truly have made a difference.

    Posted by Stephen, Tanya and Oliver Peace on 08 January, 2018

    We are so sorry to hear the news of Nick's passing. Our thoughts are with Gill and her family at this time. Nick was a super man. He will be truly missed. We got to know Nick through the GBKA. He always gave encouragement to everyone to take part and to enjoy their sport. Fond memories are what we have to remember Nick by.

    Posted by John Jenkins on 08 January, 2018

    Our dear friend and great supporter Nick - what a legacy he leaves us all, personally and jointly as SportsAble: so much richer for his commitment, dedication, determination, thoughtfulness and kindness over 20 years of involvement in our great Club. Through his efforts we have flourished: his ideas and creativity of yesterday are now what we do regularly today and will be the basis undoubtedly of what we will do tomorrow. Thank you, Nick for the fun; for great sport; for all the experiences you introduced to us all; thank you for the memories. Never forgotten! John Jenkins MBE, President

    Posted by Jackie & David Sprules on 08 January, 2018

    Our deepest sympathies to Gill and the family. Nick will be greatly missed.

    Posted by Corinne Adams on 08 January, 2018

    So very sad to hear of the untimely passing of Nick. He was a thoroughly lovely man. My thoughts are with Gill and all the family at this difficult time.

    Posted by Keith Jackson on 08 January, 2018

    Having known Nick since 2007 I can say that it has been 10 great years. Nick and Gill have done so much for New Age Kurling and GBKA. Nick passing is a great loss. My condolences go to Nick's family at this time. I will miss his dry sense of humour, support that he gave to everyone and how he had the time to listen to people's issues, problems or general chit chat. Forever in our hearts Keith and Family

    Posted by David Hill on 08 January, 2018

    Highly competitive but always time for everyone. He was always helpful and encouraging. I will always remember his smile and enthusiasm. Total positive gentleman. Words are not enough. With all my love. David

    Posted by Lorraine Pickering on 08 January, 2018

    Nick when I first joined SportsAble you made me welcome and between you and Kerl I joined the basketball team you were a tougher act to follow and a team builder. Remember when I nearly turned you into a girl by throwing the ball oops but the best thing about you was the Mickey taking you were am armadillo tuff on the out side soggy in the middle. I will miss you, we all will. SportsAble will be quiet now you knew when I was in the building thank you Nick for everything RIP. Gill I'm sorry for your great lost ❤

    Posted by Bob walker on 08 January, 2018

    Shocked and sadden regards to gill and the family

    Posted by Narinder on 08 January, 2018

    Thanks for all your work, hard efforts and making things possible for the members at SportsAble.

    Posted by JEAN HALKETT on 07 January, 2018

    I didnt know Nick very well but i met him a few times after i joined SportsAble and saw him regulary at times like sportsday. My sincere condolences to his wife and family and hope to meet them should they carry on coming to special functions at SportsAble. I love coming to this special club and reading some of the emails i know of many people that will miss Nick and the his absents will be greatly felt.

    Posted by Elaine Murdoch on 07 January, 2018

    Nick you were a true gentleman, always a good sport, always made me feel welcome whenever we met up at competitions.Nick you will be sadly missed in our Kurling family. I cannot believe I will not see your smiling face and a hug to welcome me. I am proud to have known you Nick and your lovely wife Gill my condolences go to Gill and all your family and friends. RIP Nick and fly high with the angels. Love Elaine x

    Posted by Simon & Elizabeth on 07 January, 2018

    A very kind hearted man who loved the sport of kurling and helped to ensure the participation of everybody regardless of age or ability. He will be sadly missed.

    Posted by Beverley and Ken Thomas on 07 January, 2018

    To us Nick was GBKA, and when Christina and myself took over organising the Kurling competitions Nick was still there to lend that hand when we shouted "Help!!". The funny part would be Nick asking how much time we had been the next match so that he could go for a fresh air break. Most fond memories in the time we have known Nick and Gill, especially when we have been down Windsor on our holidays and met with Nick and Gill. Nick you can join the other Kurler's in spirit and keep playing. We will miss you Yours in Sport (To coin your words) Bev and Ken xx

    Posted by Lorraine arnott on 07 January, 2018

    Wow what a shock to here of your passing Nick. A very very much loved man such an honour to of met you through kurling with AADC . R.I.P xxx

    Posted by Rocketron on 06 January, 2018

    I didn’t know Nick for very long and it was mainly through the coaching he gave me in the basketball sessions we attended. I was greatly shocked to hear of his sudden passing and through personal experience my heart felt condolences go to his wife and family. He will be sorely missed and remembered for a very, very long time.

    Posted by Janet Steve & Denise on 06 January, 2018

    All our sincere condolences to Gill, their girls and their 3 Grandchildren. He was such a lovely man who had great patience with everyone and most of all that great smile. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

    Posted by Rachel Tabone on 06 January, 2018

    I am very sad to hear of Nick's passing. He was a fantastic man with a great sense of humour. Dedicated to ensuring that anybody who wanted to, had access to the joy of sport. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nick and learned so much from him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Love Rachel xxx

    Posted by Jax on 06 January, 2018

    This is so hard to believe!! Nick you had such presence when you walked into the room. That lovely cheeky smile of yours and of course you teasing me about my ‘awful golf’ will remain in my memories. Gill and Nick have been one of loveliest committed couples to Sportsable. Sending Huge Hugs to Gill and the family. Pray you have the love and strength to get you all through this difficult time. ⛳️

    Posted by Dave Dando on 05 January, 2018

    So sad to hear. My condolences to Gill & family.

    Posted by Chris hill on 05 January, 2018

    Can't believe your gone, but I will never forget you. All my love goes to gill and your family. Xxx

    Posted by Liz Matthews on 05 January, 2018

    So sorry to hear this terribly sad news. Nick helped set up the after school club my son goes to, and absolutely loves. He will definitely be remembered for many years to come. Deepest condolences to his family.

    Posted by Sally Mark Joseph and Gracie Bond on 05 January, 2018

    We would like to pass on our condolences to Nicks Family. Gill the biggest of hugs from Gracie. You guys made SportsAble such an enjoyable experience for us all. Nothing was too much bother and you were always both so lovely to Gracie, all the kids will miss him as will we. Much Love from us all. The Bonds xxx

    Posted by Helen, Chris, Bradley, Owen & Lucas Kew on 05 January, 2018

    So very sad to hear this shocking news of your passing. You always had so much patience with Owen and always made him smile. You were very passionate about the Kurling but always made it fun for the kids. You will be very missed for all your hard work. Sending much love to Gill at this very sad time xxx

    Posted by Melissa Paulden on 05 January, 2018

    So hard to believe you are gone. Thanks for making SportsAble such a special place for us all. No one is ever allowed to call me Spice Girl, Mel P or Dragon Spice again. You were one of a kind x

    Posted by Ben Harris on 05 January, 2018

    Sadly missed never to be forgotten, one of my first friends at SportsAble. Heart goes out to Gill and the family on this sad time. Much love xx

    Posted by Vivienne on 05 January, 2018

    How lucky am I to have known someone who was so hard to say 'Goodbye' to. Nick was one of those special people. xx