BEWSA (British Ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Association) was formed in the September of 1987 with the aim to promote welfare and rehabilitation of disabled ex-service men and women through the participation of sport, sports medicine and any other means deemed legal under charity law.
In July 2010 BEWSA sent a team of 21 to Denver, Colorado, USA to compete in the Paralysed Veterans of America, National Veterans Wheelchair Games. They won 19 gold, 7 silver & 7 bronze. In 2011 the team will be in Pittsburgh Philadelphia, for the 30th wheelchair games.
BEWSA is an ex-services organisation whose Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Honorary Secretary are all disabled Wheelchair users with the Honorary Treasurer being able-bodied and former RAF. The Committee is made up of a mixture of both disabled wheelchair users and able-bodied persons.
In line with helping those who have been injured with their rehabilitation through sport and sports medicine, BEWSA encourages its athletes to compete to the highest standard of competition. We have many within our ranks that will, and have competed in summer and winter Paralympic games, with many medals to their credit.
Due to their special relationship with the RAF, BEWSA has been given permission to arrange monthly training weekends at DCAE (RAF) Cosford, West Midlands for those who wish to train for their events using the full range of facilities that are on offer within the base. This includes Field events, Track, Archery, Air weapons, Tennis; Power lifting, weight training, Basketball, swimming, Scuba diving but to name a few.
The participation in sport and sports medicine has a very serious role in the rehabilitation and re-integration of Disabled Ex-Service men and women who have been injured in or out of service life. Sport has always played a major part in Service life, BEWSA encourages its young and not so young to overcome their own physical and mental disabilities, to become as active as they possibly can, and to live life to the full. Having a disability does not mean that one is not able to continue to enjoy and to compete at any level of sport for fun to serious Paralympics standard.
BEWSA in partnership with The Royal British Legion has over the years organised and hosted World and International Ex-Service Wheelchair Games within this Country. Challenge 93, at Stoke Mandeville in 1993, the Wilkinson Sword of Peace Games in Gateshead in 1995, and also continue to send teams to the US wheelchair games, plus games within the UK.
As you will see from their membership form, they will, wherever and whenever possible, cover most sporting events.
January 2000 saw the beginning of a new venture for BEWSA and its members. Millennium Dive (BEWSA) came into being with the aim of teaching/re-training disabled ex-service men and women the art of Scuba Diving.
It in turn has turned out qualified disabled divers who will hopefully go on to become qualified dive instructors and pass on their newfound knowledge to other ex-service disabled.
The initial class room work and pool dives took place at DCAE Cosford, moving to the open diving at Stoney Cove and at the DDS at Horsea Island, Portsmouth where the course were completed. The course Instructor is Nick Harrington, the Fleet Command Diving Standards Office (Adventure Training) who has with his volunteer staff dedicated a great deal of time and patients making Millennium Dive the success story it is.
Millennium Dive is also a BSAC club (BSAC 2000) in its own right to which each dive student are enrolled. We believe that this is a first for disabled ex-service people, and we are happy that BEWSA is leading the way.
In September 2002 Millennium Dive with the support of the local army base organised a Dive Expedition to Cyprus. Eight disabled divers and support staff were involved, again a first for disabled ex-service men and women.
In 2004/2006 we travelled to Hurghada on the Red Sea to complete the PADI Open water advanced diving course, this very successful with everyone qualifying, 2008 we went to Dahab with more qualifying.
Millennium Dive has just returned from the 2010 expedition, again taking us back to Hurghada in the Red Sea. This time our trip was organised using blue o two who are based at Mountbatten, Plymouth, this turned out to be an excellent choice as we were fully looked after from start to finish. It is not an easy partnership when you have such a large number of wheelchair disabled divers to cater for, but everything went excellently. Three new divers qualified as Advanced Open Water diver (Mike Marten who is quadriplegic and a former Navy diver, and Marilyn Thomas and Catherine Mcerlean, both training as carers for disabled ex-forces members) and Ian Stuart (paraplegic) was introduced to snorkelling.
If you should need any further information, then please do not hesitate to ask.
The Chairman: Mr Edwin Thomas (South West)
01326-318780. Email: email@example.com
Hon. Secretary: Mr Richard Simmons (Northumberland)
01670-363192. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.bewsa.org