Nathan has Cerebral Palsy and is a wheelchair user. He has always loved sport and over the years has tried a number of mainstream and disability sports.
In September 2013 he joined a local athletics team who borrowed a racing wheelchair for him to try. Ever since that moment Nathan has shown dedication and determination to succeed and progress with his wheelchair racing. Nathan says he feels ‘free’ and as if he’s running when he’s out on the track!
We are awarded Nathan £5000 for a new wheelchair.
“It means everything to me because by getting a custom made chair I can improve my technique and performance and be a better racer. For me wheelchair racing is like running and makes me feel so free!”
Nathan’s mum Kim says:
“From my perspective, wheelchair racing has really helped Nathan to accept his disability and increase his confidence. He’s worked really hard over the last 18 months, training twice a week whatever the weather, but needs a custom made chair in order to progress. We really couldn’t believe we’d been successful with the award and will be eternally grateful to the Starr Trust for giving Nathan this opportunity to follow his dreams!”
Check out Nathan’s website here.
Update September 2017
Our young Champion Nathan recently won a prestigious Diana Award for his services to wheelchair racing, and popped into the BBC Monday afternoon to appear live on the Allison Ferns show. He talked about his love of wheelchair racing, his fastest times, getting a bronze medal in London’s mini marathon and racing downhill in his chair at 25 miles an hour!
Listen to this amazing young man who has already achieved so much at just 14 years old:
Photo (L-R): Nicole Carman, Starr Trust PR Manager; Nathan Freeman, Starr Trust Champion; Kim Freeman, Nathan’s mother; and Allison Ferns from the BBC.
Update August 2017
Nathan recently received a Diana Award for his services to wheelchair racing. The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. Nathan was one of 750 young people in the UK and around the world to receive one. The award is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Today The Diana Award has the support of both her sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
All the award winners – who come from every region in the UK and USA, Canada, UAE, India, Belize, Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Croatia, Jersey, New Zealand, and Liberia – have had a monumental impact on society and lives of those in their communities. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honour of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for whose memory it was set up in.
Well done Nathan – we are really proud of you!
See Nathan in our latest video:
Update May 2017
Nathan is doing really well this season so far. His biggest achievement has been to compete in his first London Mini Marathon where he came 3rd, completing the 3 mile course in 20:23 - his first British Athletics medal!
Update January 2017
One of our champion’s mums, Claire Clements, is friends with the amazing Paralympic athlete Baroness ‘Tanni’ Grey-Thompson and kindly arranged for Nathan to meet with her.
Tanni Grey-Thompson, born with spina bifida, is one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes and has amassed a remarkable medal haul over 16 years and five Paralympic Games of 11 gold medals, 4 silver and a bronze and continues to be involved in sport and physical activity as Board Member of the London Marathon, the Sportsaid Foundation, Transport for London, and many more and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Last month 14 year old Nathan met up with life peer Tanni who gave him some inspirational training on his wheelchair racing. Tanni told us “It’s lovely to meet a young man who has so much drive and enthusiasm for the sport, and so willing to listen to advice. He obviously spends a lot of time watching wheelchair racing on the internet which is a great way to learn about who is in the sport and how they compete. I really hope that he continues to enjoy the sport and I can’t wait to see him compete this season”.
Nathan’s mum Kim, who has totally supported and encouraged Nathan to wheelchair race, is really excited by this new friendship. She told us “We’re really grateful to Claire, Hannah and The Starr Trust for making the meeting happen. Nath learnt so much from Tanni and her husband Ian, not just about the technical elements of wheelchair racing, but also practical tips and encouragement. We were really grateful for the amount of time Tanni & Ian spent with us and Nath left feeling really inspired to train harder and work on the elements they had advised”.
Update April 2016
Nathan didn’t have a great winter in terms of his health, so his winter training didn’t go to plan and he was unable to take part in the London wheelchair mini marathon, which he was really disappointed about.
However, the track season has started well, and in his first event of the season he has qualified to compete at the National Junior championships in 2 events and is hoping to qualify for a third event in the coming weeks!
Update July 2015
Nathan picked up his racing wheelchair from Draft yesterday, and can’t wait to get to using it on the track.
He’s got his next event at Stoke Mandeville Athletics Stadium on 8th August and is planning to train hard between now and then to get some good times - he’s entered for the 100m, 200m and 400m.
Good luck Nathan!
Update June 2015
Nathan is looking forward to receiving the chair, which is being made for him, and in the meantime has continued to compete at a couple of events a month including the National Junior Championships at the end of June.
So far this season Nathan’s beaten his personal best for the 100m & 200m and has achieved a season’s best in the 200m!
Update May 2015
Nathan competed in a 100m wheelchair race at the K2, Crawley on 28th April and knocked seconds off his season best and was just 1.1 seconds off a qualifying time for the Nationals!
He was at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium on 4th May for the BWRA event, where he took part in the 100m & 200m. The weather conditions were really bad and although he missed out on qualifying times again, he gained some useful experience of competing in wet conditions and picked up some tips from some great athletes.
A great day had by all, and he’s back there this coming weekend for more racing - here’s hoping the weather is kinder to everyone! Nathan’s counting the days until his new racing wheelchair arrives.