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Andy Barrow Retired GB Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby player motivational and Inspirational Speaker

Andy Barrow is a triple Paralympian and three-time European gold medalist. He was a professional Wheelchair Rugby player for Great Britain for over a decade, captaining the team for five years spanning the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Andy Barrow competed at London 2012 Paralympic Games before retiring internationally to pursue a career as an inspirational speaker and mentor.

Andy Barrow  is an excellent speaker and motivator who is passionate about communication and relates equally well to audiences within corporate and educational environments.

His key topics include Teamwork, Motivation, Overcoming Adversity, Leadership, Equality/Diversity and Managing Change.

Andy Barrow Retired Wheelchair Rugby player, motivational and Inspirational Speaker

Andy Barrow Retired GB Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby player ,motivational and Inspirational Speaker

Andy Barrow  has followed a successful career as an international athlete (see below for details) by building a business as an inspirational speaker and mentor. He is already a full member of the Professional Speaking Association and has become a “Team London” ambassador for whom he regularly speaks and recently delivered to a crowd of 12,000 people at Wembley Arena.

Andy Barrow runs two large projects working with young people. The first, with long-term client Chaucer Syndicates sees him create volunteering opportunities for employees, who help him run team-building days for your people with challenges. This year, Andy will run 18 of these days across London and Kent based on his “3 C’s” (confidence, communication and compromise)

 Andy’s other project, the “Athlete Inspiration Programme”, he runs a series of workshops for the schools in his home borough of Greenwich. This is now in it’s third year and themes include wellbeing, nutrition, resilience and teamwork.

Andy Barrow  also delivers bespoke speeches and workshops to numerous schools and colleges, using his story to illustrate the importance of a positive attitude and strong work ethic as well as teaching techniques to help students overcome challenges and perform under pressure. This role overlaps well with his work as a “Sporting Champion”, where he draws on his previous experience as a Dame Kelly Holmes Trust athlete mentor to motivate and coach young people.

On the corporate side Andy Barrow has delivered keynotes and additional training for a number of organisations. He focuses on the theme of performance using his insights into what makes a successful team to help employees to approach their work as an elite athlete would. He can also show you how to apply the principles of marginal gain to maximize your output and add that extra percentage that will separate your business from the rest of the pack.

Andy Barrow also supports many different charities and initiatives in an ambassadorial capacity by appearing at fundraising events, giving prizes at award ceremonies or speaking at dinners. These include Right to Play, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, the RFU Injured Players Foundation, OCS and Greenwich Starting Blocks among others. He is also a trustee for volunteer charity “Imago”.

As someone who has overcome great adversity, Andy Barrow  has shown that success is achieved through hard work and perseverance. He also believes that in life, nothing will change unless you change it. 

His motto is simply…. Take the opportunity!

His key topics include Teamwork, Motivation, Overcoming Adversity, Leadership, Equality/Diversity and Managing Change

Media Work

During his career as an athlete and professional speaker, Andy Barrow has undertaken all kinds of media duties including live and pre-recorded television/radio interviews, documentaries/video diaries with the BBC and Channel 4 as well as blogging for multiple websites in the build up to the 2012 Paralympic Games. He is at ease both in front of and behind a camera and has a good working knowledge of all broadcast medium.

Playing Career

Andy Barrow began playing Wheelchair Rugby in 1998 after suffering a spinal cord injury during a Rugby game the previous year, which left him paralysed from the chest down with limited use of his hands.

After becoming a member of London Wheelchair Rugby Club, he was selected to train with the Great Britain squad in 1999 and narrowly missed out on a place at the Sydney Paralympics. Vowing never to miss a major tournament again, Andy dedicated himself to the life of a full-time athlete and in 2002; he made his international debut at the World Championships in Gothenburg.

His career has encompassed a run of eleven majors including three Paralympic Games, three World Championships and five European Championships where he was part of record-breaking team that won three back-to-back gold medals. He captained Great Britain from 2005-2010, a term which saw one of his proudest moments, leading the team out at the Beijing Paralympics.

Andy Barrow has also had a distinguished domestic career, winning numerous National titles with his club, as well as an unprecedented five European Club Championships. He has also spent time in America, representing San Diego in the U.S. league.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was the greatest sporting event in the nation’s history and the perfect opportunity for Andy to end his career on a high, so he took the decision to make London his final tournament before retiring as an athlete. 

International Honours

2002 Worlds, Gothenburg, Sweden (5th)

2003 Europeans, Lommel, Belgium (1st)

2004 Paralympics, Athens, Greece (4th)

2005 Europeans, Middlefart, Denmark (1st) CAPTAIN

2006 Worlds, Christchurch, New Zealand (4th) CAPTAIN

2007 Europeans, Espoo, Finland (1st) CAPTAIN

2008 Paralympics, Beijing, China (4th) CAPTAIN

2009 Europeans, Hillerod, Denmark (4th) CAPTAIN

2010 Worlds, Vancouver, Canada (6th)

2011 Europeans, Nottwil, Switzerland (2nd)

2012 Paralympics, London, England (5th)

Andy Barrow Retired GB Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby player, motivational and Inspirational Speaker

Andy Barrow gave a fantastic presentation at our UK strategy event. Andy Barrow told us the inspiring story of his career and three Paralympic Games that he attended as well as everything that he went through to get to that point. However, the really impressive thing was the way that he tailored his speech to the themes and key messages of the conference. We’re extremely pleased with how relevant his words were for our leadership group here at Ageas.

Andy Watson  CEO, Ageas UK

Andy was the guest speaker at our recent formal Annual International Meal. His speech inspired students and staff from over 40 countries. Andy shared his story of a very personal accident. He made it relevant to each individual in the audience and shared with us how he overcame challenges and succeeded. His speech was short, sharp and very clear. He did not dwell on his many incredible successes as an athlete, but on the keys to success which he made relevant to each and everyone of us. Our students left feeling inspired and more determined to meet their own challenges. Our staff found the speech hugely engaging and likely to repeat what they had heard to other audiences!After the meal Andy stayed for a few hours. He spoke to our students in small, informal groups around the boarding house. He was humble about his own successes, celebrated those of our students and was engaging throughout. I feel that I have personally gained a great deal from listening to Andy and speaking to hm for a short time. I would happily invite him to our school again in the future and recommend him highly.

Mark Venn-Dunn, Head of Boarding, ACS Cobham International School

We booked Andy Barrow for our leaders conference after seeing him at a Diversity and Inclusion event hosted by Hoggett Bowers earlier this year. We brought him in to give us a focus on our 2016 strategic goals and amazingly, Andy Barrow was able to adapt his story to really fit with that agenda. We’ve already had hugely positive feedback from our delegates here at the conference.

Lyn Nicholls HR Director, Ageas UK

Andy  Barrow has been supporting the Mayor of London’s volunteering programme, Team London, as an Ambassador for Team London since 2014. Andy Barrow is passionate about the role that young people can play in building and developing communities and, as such, has been invited to speak at a number of Team London events. 

One of our key focuses is maintaining the volunteering legacy of the 2012 Games and building the next generation of volunteers. Team London Young Ambassadors is the Mayor’s volunteering programme for primary and secondary schools across the capital. Currently working in over 1,500 schools, the programme has engaged and inspired more than 300,000 young people to develop and run community projects on social issues they care about. We aim to work with 2,500 schools by 2017.

In 2015, Andy Barrow  was a key note speaker at four events: our Team London Schools’ Volunteering Conference, the UK’s Largest Youth Speed Networking Event for Careers Advice, the launch of our Team London Young Leaders initiative and WE Day UK. Andy Barrow uses his own experiences to talk about the importance of volunteering and inspire young people to be agents for change. During his time supporting us Andy has spoken to an arena of 12,000 people, at events with teachers and young people, and worked with small groups of young people to deliver leadership workshops. No matter the size of the audience, Andy Barrow captivates people with his humility, honesty and empowering message of hope and action. We all come away with a tear in our eye and a resolve to do more when we have listened to Andy.

We continue to work with Andy Barrow on the Young Leaders programme, a new initiative which brings together clusters of schools across boroughs to inspire others to join the movement by leading a local campaign or event in their borough and are delighted to have Andy’s support in championing this initiative. 

For more information about Team London, visit http://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk/ or email teamlondon@london.gov.uk.

Jen D’Souza – Senior Manager, Team London

It was absolutely incredible to have Andy Barrow at the Diana Award’s National Inspire Day speaking to our young people and presenting them with awards for youth social action in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. Andy Barrow  has a heart-warming story and an electric presence on stage making him a truly inspirational speaker to have at our event.

Daniel Gothard     Diana Award’s National Inspire Day, 21/10/15

Andy Barrow  came along and spoke recently at the launch of our Ellenor Business Club. He was a truly engaging speaker who captured the attention of the guests and really inspired everyone who attended.  We had so many positive comments from guests afterwards saying that he was one of the best speakers they had ever heard.

And Barrow also attended one of our youth group meetings last year and spent time with our 14 to 19 year old young people, making them feel motivated.”

Angela Ward

Ellenor Business Club Launch, 16/7/15

Just a quick note to say how delighted we were to have Andy Barrow attend our company day recently. When Andy tells his tory and explains the decisions he made in his life, he does it with impact. As he spoke the room fell completely silent, our entire contingent hanging on his every word. It is an impressive narrative , told impressively.

One,often critical colleague, was moved to say Andy Barrow was the best speaker we have had , and we have been running for around 7 Years!

Andy  was also kind enough to actively participate in the whole day and exhibited sound social media skills combined with a determination to succeed. His involvement was certainly part of what made the day such a success.

Simon Dear  Chief Executive Officer

Tangent International  May 2015

Andy Barrow  joined us at City Hall to discuss with a room full of teachers the power of volunteering.  Andy opened the event and as he painted a picture for the audience you could have heard a pin drop.   Andy captured everyone’s attention as he talked about the hundreds of volunteers who had supported him as a Paralympian but then brought it right back to that first volunteer who supported him after his accident and what that individual’s support had meant to him.  He managed to capture so beautifully the positive impact that giving your time can have on someone else, he definitely inspired many to sign-up to get started.  Aside from the speech, Andy was so personable, friendly, easy going and genuinely passionate about supporting young people, it was a pleasure to have him with us for the afternoon.

Natalie Cramp Programme Director – Team London 

Andy Barrow spoke at the opening of our Photography Exhibition on Exercise and Spinal Cord Injury. We asked Andy to speak less about his outstanding achievements as an elite athlete and more about his personal journey since retiring from top level sport. Andy adapted to the task with ease and spoke with a natural flair. Andy Barrow speaks fluently and confidently and with a relaxed, engaging style. His words were both personal and inspirational and he was able to relate to our audience as though he knew each and every one of them. He was a huge success and this event firmly demonstrated his versatility as a public speaker.
Dr Anthony Papathomas, Loughborough University

Andy Barrow spoke at a South East London Chamber of Commerce business breakfast in March of this year. He set the scene well, related what he was saying back to businesses, and had plenty of anecdotes along the way to keep the interest going.

He is an excellent role model and his speech was truly inspiring, I wouldn’t hesitate to book him again and i’d recommend him to anyone who wanted to inspire and motivate their audience."
Shirley Nelson
South East London Chamber of Commerce

Andy– Just a quick note to say thanks very much for the speaking at our annual Business Breakfast event. Your presentation was inspiring, engaging and motivational, we really liked how you emphasised the importance of team work, and how that it is only with our teams around us we can truly succeed. At St Catherine's Hospice we provide that team support for our patients when they need us the most, and I thought that you linked those subjects so well, with maximum impact, making the speech topical, appropriate and relevant to our cause.”
Andy Barrow has an inspirational story, guaranteed to motivate and encourage people to  look at the bigger picture in life. His life experiences teach us that each situation in life, good and bad can be turned into an opportunity, depending on the attitude we choose to adopt. We were delighted to have Andy speak at our annual business breakfast event for St Catherine's Hospice, our guests were completely captivated by his motivational story and afterwards commented on how amazing the presentation was.
Sarah Achucarro - Corporate Fundraising Assistant, St Catherine's Hospice

’I felt that Andy’s speech was very captivating , it included the right level of humour whilst still bringing a very humble vibe to the room. Andy spoke about HD moments, I think that everyone can relate to some form of HD moment in their life. Excellent delivery, really nice guy.’’

Charlie Deacon, Cellular Solutions 

Andy Barrow  gave a truly inspirational and motivating talk to our team of tour guides here at Twickenham Stadium. The session was a great blend of Andy’s personal story and achievements, the inside track on his sport and wider observations. Many of our guides thought it was the best presentation we have ever had. I have no hesitation in recommending him whole-heartedly.”
Michael Rowe, Curator, World Rugby Museum.  April 2014

I first met Andy Barrow when I attended a Mentoring session he was holding for some young adults in conjunction with his work at Charlton Athletoc Community Trust. I could instantly see how he had engaged with the groupand in a short period I saw the confidence int he team grow.

Andy Barrow  was my first choice when we decided to hole a Group meeting as I was looking to inspire my team to go a step further in their roles. Andy is a very commited individual who put incredible effort into his sporting career and obviously puts the same amout of dedication inot everything he does. His presentation was inspiring, witty and personal. His character shone through and his enthusiasm was contagious throughout his presentation.

I would recommend Andy Barrow  to speak at any type of function, where down to earth approach and passion will be bound to have a positive impact on the audience.

I am delighted to recommend Andy Barrow for his motivational speakign and presentations

Jeff Conway
Group Sales  Manager  W.J.King ( Garages)  Ltd ,
March 2014

It is my pleasure to give Andy Barrow my highest recommendation as a Guest of Honour or  Guest or keynote speaker.

Andy delivered a captivating speech to our students and their parents at our school's Sports Awards Evening . Beginning with the breaking of his neck in a teenag rugby scrum  which he described arrestingly as " his big new opportunity in life". And Barrow  told a compellling tale of his international career in wheelchair sport which encouraged students to love sport, better understaand and respect differently able people, face advsersity with reliliance of character and grasp life's opportunutity. Andy's speech was delivered simply and clearly , with a down to earth approcah which wholly charmed us

As a Guest of Honour more genreally , Andy Barrow was patient, helpful, friendlt and tireless in shaking the hands of endless lines of children of all ages and sizes as he awarded them medals and posed for photographs with each group.

Andy Barrow is approachable. flexible, focussed completely credible, and most inspiring, I hope that you will make use of Andy and his life experiances to motivate your audiences

I am happy to be contacted personally to confirm or expand this testimonial
Charles Dormer
Emmanual College Hertfordshire
Feb 2014

We were delighted to have Andy Barrow was a speaker on our day seminar "Where Does Rehabilitation Start and End?” held at Oaksey House in June 2013.

We had approached a number of speakers who had experienced the rehab pathway following a catastrophic injury and asked them to speak to the audience and our goal was to ask them to let the therapists attending understand what a therapist should be doing and looking for to help their clients maximise their rehab potential throughout the course of their lives not just when in hospital.

Andy Barrow did just that! He outlined his history from the moment of his injury at the age of 17 playing rugby, through his rehab pathway onto his sporting experiences including his fantastic achievements including captaining the wheelchair rugby team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Nicky Ellis
Hobbs Rehabilita
tion  20.06.13

Andy Barrow is not a man to avoid a challenge and relished an opportunity to address an audience of nearly 80 hard-bitten business leaders at a Muesli Mafia event in Bromley.  The entire audience was captivated by his story and his fluent deli very.  

Not only an elite, World class athlete, Andy is also an elite and inspiring speaker.
Ron Roser
Host, Muesli Mafia; 10/7/13

Andy Barrow delivered an excellent presentation to eighty Muesli Mafia business guests at our July event at The Warren in Hayes. He gave an in-depth insight into his life and sporting career and how he overcame his tragic accident to become a triple paralympian.

His delivery and engagement of the audience was first rate and he held our guests attention throughout his presentation. The feed back we received from our guests was of the highest order and Andy was an inspiration to everyone.

We would without any hesitation recommend Andy as a keynote speaker and will be calling on him again to present at our events. Thank you Andy Barrow for greatly enhancing the Muesli Mafia Brand and reputation.
John Sayer
Host, Muesli Mafia

Thank you, Andy, for truly inspiring our year 7 students with your motivational speech.  It was a joy to see how engrossed they were in your words, which both moved and uplifted all who listened.  Whilst it was necessary for you to relate your personal story, it was done with sensitivity;  it enabled the students to understand how it is possible, with hard work and determination, to overcome adversity and “achieve your dream”.  It was particularly appreciated how you made time at the end to speak 1:1 with our “star-struck” students – one of whom  is now even more determined to follow his own dream of playing wheelchair basketball for our country.

I would not hesitate to recommend Andy as a motivational speaker and already want him back to inspire our older students. 

Beverley NealLearning Mentor
Thamesview School Gravesend  Kent  08.02,13

“I heard Andy Barrow speak at the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s ‘Looking Ahead for Children with Special Needs’ event.
He gave a really uplifting speech to the parents and carers of disabled children which was very well received. Andy spoke eloquently about his own experiences of living with a disability and shared his thoughts on the impact of the Paralympics on changing attitudes to disability. From the feedback we got from attendees I know that his appearance was considered to be one of the highlights of the day.
Andy Barrow was happy to take questions from the floor and he stayed afterwards to meet and talk further with the parents, which was very much appreciated. I have seen Andy appear at several events now and he always leaves his audience feeling inspired.” 
Jack Petchey Foundation  November 2012

We asked Andy Barrow  to participate in a workshop to explain classification to the world’s media. He was superb, not only making a complex subject really simple, but by adding great value with anecdotes of his time as a leading wheelchair rugby player.”
Craig Spence, Communications and Media Director, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Andrew Barrow spoke at a meeting of the National Union of Journalists’ Lewisham Branch in October 2012.

His research in advance was thorough. He asked only a few pertinent questions before coming, but, as a result, pitched his performance perfectly, both in terms of content and style.

He spoke about being an international athlete and the Paralympics but he steered the presentation towards the media reporting of the event, of disability sport and of disability in general. He did it in a relaxed and informative way, using a mix of highly relevant anecdotes and personal experiences. 

He used tragic and comic examples, eliciting a range of reactions from the audience from laughter to sadness and sheer disbelief.
It never came across as a sermon and often contained practical examples that would help journalists covering disability sport and other disabled interviewees in the future.

He understood that an audience of journalists would want to ask questions, rather than just be spoken at and answered all questions expertly, but he also challenged the group with questions of his own.

The feedback from the meeting was entirely positive and I would heartily recommend Andy as an informative and entertaining speaker who judges his audience perfectly.
Chris Wheal, secretary, Lewisham NUJ branch. 17.10.12

Thank you for your inspirational talk at the Looked After Children's Awards at Charlton Atyhletic Football Club on 14th October 2012

Feedback from the young people and carers was excellent. Your presentation was moving, insightful and full of hope. You skilfully reinforced positive messages about the value of learning, of determination and perseverance and working hard to achieve one's dreams.

You are a fantastic role model for Greenwich young people and your personal account, delivered eloquently, helped these particularly vulnerable young people learn from your experience and powerful message that through hard work, belief and commitment all things are possible. You have provided our young people with new insights into the world of a disabled athlete and your straightforward and open manner made those insights accessible. The Event was a great success so once again thank you for your first class contribution.
Gillian Palmer
Director of Children's Services
Royal Borough of Greenwich

Andy Barrow visited Brooklands College as part of our Festival of Diversity, to speak to our students and staff about his experiences as an elite paralympic athlete and about his sport of wheelchair rugby.

Andy's talk was inspirational in every way and it was obvious that he had prepared well for his visit because his speech was pitched at exactly the right level for our students.

Andy talked about his determination to succeed and identified the key behaviours to this success, such as good teamwork, respect for others, dedication and hard work. He emphasised how important these behaviours were in everyday life so that the students could identify with this and see the relevance in their own lives.

Andy's speech was interesting and informative and the students were very engaged. I would thoroughly recommend Andy as a motivational speaker.
Gill Hopkins  Brooklands College   19/10/12

 "We have invited Andy to a number of Hogan Lovells events and he never fails to deliver an interesting and engaging speech. He is comfortable talking about his experiences, provides an inspiring insight into how he has overcome challenges and talks with great enthusiasm about his successes as a Paralympic athlete. Feedback from these sessions has been, without exception, incredibly positive. We look forward to hearing about Andy's 2012 medal-winning experience.
Richard Welfare
Hogan Lovells

Andy Barrow delivered an inspirational talk to teachers in the Royal Borough of Greenwich on 3rd February 2012. Andy shared his moving life story with a mix of humour and real life experiences kept all that attended glued to his every word.

Andy was able to connect with the audience and talk about the sensitive issues of inclusion in schools and the importance of the teachers role in supporting children with disabilities. Moreover Andy's humility and plain speaking approach made his talk accessible for everybody and all of the teachers were impressed and very positive in their comments about how powerful the presentation was.
Andy's presentation focused on his life story but also linked to the 2012 Paralympic Games and legacy aspirations which fitted perfectly with the purpose of the event as the teachers in attendance were the Olympic Champions for their schools responsible for coordinating 2012 Games time activities.

I was personally delighted and moved by Andy's contribution to the event and have had endorsements from headteachers who were not present at the event but heard about Andy's speech. Andy was motivating, thought provoking and entertaining with his unique approach. I would whole-heartedly recommend Andy to any organisation as he has a fantastic moving story to share. We wish Andy every success for the 2012 Paralympic Games and will be cheering him on.
Michelle Moore
Senior School Improvement Advisor
Children's Services
Royal Borough of Greenwich

I am writing to thank you for inspiring us all today. The whole school has been “buzzing” following your motivational assembly about playing Wheelchair Rugby in the 2012 Paralympic Games. Our children are so excited about meeting a real star and sporting hero!

I thought that you spoke brilliantly and kept the children (from age four to eleven) engaged and captivated as you told us about your life story, your injury, your passion for sport, your determination to be the best you can be and your desire to succeed and play at the highest level. It was great to hear you linking sporting themes and the Olympic Values to a whole range of life experiences. I have already begun using you as a role model as I have spoken to our children today.

It was wonderful to hear you speak about the game itself and the dangers of playing “full on”, total contact rugby in a wheelchair. Your courage, modesty and determination shone through in everything you said. Our Year Four Class have already begun to design their own wheelchairs following your extremely informative talk and demonstration about the technical aspects of your chair.
I felt that you “handled the crowd” brilliantly and dealt with a wide range of questions in an expert way. A natural teacher as well as an excellent sportsman and ambassador!

I am already dealing with ticket enquiries for the first game (which is in our first week back to school in September) and we are determined to come and cheer you on. We hope you can come back to Greenslade and show us your Gold Medal!

Thank you so much for inspiring us. It was great to meet you and we all wish you the very best of luck.
David Ashley
Headteacher, Greenslade Primary School. May 2012

We hope you thought today at Robert Owen was a success. We certainly did!

The parents and children gave positive feedback and we were touched that you spent extra time with 2 families whose children have complex disabilities. The depth of conversation you were able to share about your own experiences of being disabled were touching and inspirational. Coping with a large group of over 50 young nursery aged children in one go was amazing - you talked naturally to them and answered their questions appropriately to their development.

After lunch one of the children asked 'Is Andy coming back again this afternoon?' which was a great test Ruth Mercer
Deputy Head of Centre
Robert Owen Early Years Centre
May 2012

 “Looking Ahead for Children with Special Needs”
 Jackie Smith, Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services  22.11.12
Re Athlete Inspiration Programme at South Rise Primary School
It was an emmense pleasure to host your first visit to a Greenwich school and hear Andy Barrow speak. Our children were truly inspired by the speech that Andy gave. He was extremely entertaining and the children were captivated by his speech. It is so important for the children to have role models and Andy has become just that to many of our students. Class teachers have further explored his sport and watched footage of his achievements. May I once again , on behalf of all the staff and students express our extreme gratitude to Andy and wish him the very best in his forthcoming marriage.

South Rise Primary School 23.11.12

 “Andy was wholly professional, and he spoke fluently and sincerely. His personal story is an inspiring one. He was happy to engage with our young award winners after the event, and willingly posed for photographs with them, leaving them to go home with big smiles on their faces!”