Graeme Ballard, a European Champion and volunteer at Rainbow House, has been selected to
join Team GB at the Paralymics in Rio from 7 – 18th September 2016.
Graeme, 37, from Chorley has previously been part of the team in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and
London 2012. In May 2012, he became the world record holder in the T36 100m at the Paralympic
World Cup in Manchester. At London 2012, his third Games, Graeme won silver in this event,
adding to the bronze medal that he won in the T36 200m in Athens.
When Graeme was born prematurely, he was so small with under developed lungs that oxygen
starvation caused cerebral palsy and his parents were told that he would never walk or talk and
would probably not survive beyond his teenage years. But his parents, Dennis and Barbara
never gave up on him and did everything possible to help him strengthen his limbs. By the time
he was 20 he no longer had to use a wheelchair and started running whilst attending Beaumont
College in Lancaster. His determination and belief that there are no barriers – you just have to
push yourself – has resulted in the confident achiever he has become. He most recently won
two silver medals at the IPC Athletics European Championships in June 2016 in Italy.
His association with Rainbow House started in 2010 when he took part in the Rainbow Ramble with his
cousin and then started going around the schools in the area with Sonia Harris, one of the team at
Rainbow House, talking about the work they do. He is now a volunteer classroom assistant helping with the
conductive education programme on Wednesday morning each week.
Julia McDonald, Head of Conductive Education at Rainbow House, said “the children love Graeme
and aspire to be like him. His determination is great motivation for them.”
Graeme Ballard said, “it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the youngsters at Rainbow
House and it has helped me understand the daily struggles I have and the pitfalls of having cerebral
In addition to sprinting, Graeme has a keen interest in Football and has also competed at a national level in
Swimming. He supports Liverpool FC and his sporting hero is Steven Gerrard.
Carole Cochrane, CEO at Rainbow House said, “Graeme’s contribution to our work at Rainbow House is
invaluable and his attitude to life inspirational. We are thrilled that he has been selected for the Paralympics
and wish him every success. We are looking forward to seeing him return with more medals. ”
Rainbow House are looking for more volunteers and anyone is interested can find details and an
application form at http://thelegacy-rainbowhouse.com/volunteering or they can ring 01704 823276
or email firstname.lastname@example.org