Paralympian Andrew Lewis awarded Honorary Degree

Issue date: 06 July 2017


Andrew Lewis was awarded the Honorary Degree of Master of Technology (Hon DTech) by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in recognition of his contribution as a Paralympian and elite sportsman alongside his commitment to inspiring others to overcome adversity and to developing new technology.

After leaving school in 1999 Andrew made the brave decision to serve Queen and country by applying to join the Parachute Regiment, in the British Army.

Andrew said, “Because of my determination to excel when applying for the army I was super fit as I frequently ran for Gloucestershire in cross country events across the UK.

“I was about to begin my P Company training, when I had a motorcycle accident that left me hospitalised for over four months. After waking up in a hospital bed at just 16 years old the reality of exactly what had happened to me set in, I thought both my life and career were over.

“The next couple of months were very hard for me as I didn't lose my leg straight away, Bristol Royal Infirmary did everything they could to save it and for a short time they managed to do so. However due continual complications, in December 2005 I made the extremely difficult decision to have my leg amputated.”

This was a hard time for Andrew as he struggled with his decision as he had wanted to join the British Army and it was particularly difficult as his brother was in Iraq at the time.

Andrew continues, “I made the decision that my amputation was not going to be my disability but in fact my ability to achieve something incredible and something that would change my life forever. I knew there would be obstacles and I knew that I would have to learn to get over them.

“I had a burning desire to run after watching the 2012 Paralympics. Watching those inspirational athletes ignited a flame in my heart that for years had just been a small ember.

“With a fresh resolve I started looking into getting a running blade so I could run again and my employer Airbus UK incredibly part funded the cost of this new leg, as it is not available on the NHS, and we managed to fund raise the rest, raising a total of £8,000.

“Getting the blade changed my life dramatically and I competed in and won many events including Stoke Mandeville stadium and I registered for England Athletics.”

Not content with running alone Andrew entered a Triathlon, its multi-faceted disciplines were extremely appealing to him.

Three years later he is now part of the Great Britain World Class Performance Program competing for Great Britain all over the world. After many hours of training Andy is now Paralympic Champion after bringing home Gold in Rio 2016 and during the same year secured World and European champion Status for GB. Only recently Andy returned from Austria to be crowned European champion once again to regain his title.

Andrew was awarded the Honorary Degree of Master of Technology (Hon DTech) at the awards ceremony of the Faculty of Environment and Technology at Bristol Cathedral on Monday 10 July at 10:30.

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