Skydiving team will provide a flying start

Published: 12 November 2012 at 13:32

Daredevils to drop in for International Day for People with Disabilities at Anglia Ruskin

A team of amputee ex-servicemen will skydive on to Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus on Saturday, 1 December to kick-off the biggest event for people with disabilities ever held in the UK.

The daredevil former soldiers from the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association (BLESMA) will “drop in” during the opening ceremony of the International Day for People with Disabilities (IDPwD) – an event to showcase the skills, abilities and achievements of disabled people.

There are an estimated 360,000 people with some form of disability currently living in Essex and the IDPwD, an annual event supported by the United Nations, is expected to attract around 1,500 disabled and able-bodied people to Anglia Ruskin’s Chelmsford campus.

The day will include inspirational talks from Paralympians Danny Crates and Anne Wafula Strike, amputee marathon runner Chris Moon, former UK diplomat Jane Cordell, and 7/7 survivor and access campaigner Daniel Biddle.  

There will also be demonstrations of disabled sport such as sitting volleyball, archery and amputee football, music from the likes of Reg Webb and the Philip Morant Sign Choir, dance performances, art and a business showcase.

Rachel Moss, Anglia Ruskin’s Community Engagement Officer, said: “Right across the world, the theme of the IDPwD this year is Breaking Down Barriers.  While not every speaker, performer and exhibitor will themselves have a disability, they all share the desire to draw attention not just to the rights and needs of disabled people, but also to their often under-recognised accomplishments and potential.”

The event is being held in association with Dancing Giraffe – an innovative Essex-based internet community website for disabled people and their carers – and Chelmsford City Council.

IDPwD on Saturday, 1 December is free to attend but booking is essential. 


  • There are over 10 million people in the UK with a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability, including approximately 360,000 in Essex
  • Around 1 in 20 children, 1 in 7 working-age adults, and 1 in 2 pensioners are disabled in Great Britain
  • Over a fifth of disabled people say they do not frequently have choice and control over their daily lives
  • Disabled people remain significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure, and sporting activities than non-disabled people
  • 1 in 7 people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Only 39% of buses and 46% of trains are wheelchair-accessible in the UK