Last week Eton was privileged to welcome Aaron Phipps, who represented Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a member of the wheelchair rugby team. During UK Disability Awareness Week, it was wonderful for a virtual audience of Eton staff, students and partner schools to hear his incredible story.

When Aaron was just 15 he contracted Meningitis C and blood poisoning. His illness took him to the brink of death and led to the amputation of most of his fingers and both of his feet. However, it was at this point that he first told himself “no way was this going to beat me”.

No way was this going to beat me…

Aaron Phipps, Team GB, London 2012 Paralympic Games

Since then, he has pushed himself to the very limits of human endurance and, along the way, raised more than £250,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation. He entered the London Marathon in 2008 and finished as the 4th UK male with an incredible time of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It was after this that he decided that he wanted to represent Great Britain at London 2012, a goal which he exceeded when Team GB finished fifth in London’s medal table.  

His next challenge was to scale Mount Kilimanjaro as the first unaided wheelchair user. Due to the vertical nature of the ascent he had to resort to his hands and knees after only two days. He managed to finish the arduous challenge and achieved a world record in the process.