Skip to main content

Spring 2019Interview with Andy Walker MBE

Andy Walker, who has fought to live life to the fullest after becoming paralysed from the neck down, was named in the New Year’s Honours list, for his services to people with disabilities.

Speaking about the accolade, Andy said: “It was the biggest surprise and I am a bit embarrassed actually.”

Andy also chairs the Disability Design Reference Group, which advises Transport for Greater Manchester on all access needs across their public transport systems.

He added: “A very good friend, Frank Salt, who is also part of the design group, has been such a mentor to me and guided me through my journey. He has really set an example to me.”

Paralysed from the neck down after a diving accident in Goa in 2006, Andy defied all odds to become an ambassador of positivity through his motivational speaking consultancy, Living Your Dreams Consultancy.

Andy survived only because he was spotted by two friends who pulled him to safety. Moved to a specialist hospital for spinal injuries in Delhi, he underwent a major operation to realign his spine.

He spent a further eight months at Sheffield Northern Hospital after he was flown back to England.

Andy, who uses an electric wheelchair controlled with his chin, provides speeches and workshops, hoping to inspire others through his life-story and challenge perceptions of disabilities.

He said: “I have always had a positive mentality; I have always had to adapt and overcome hurdles in life.

“Following my accident I realised I needed to adapt to a new way of life, faced with new challenges, and set myself new goals. I had absolute conviction and determination to lead a full and rewarding life.

“I always talk about dreams and pushing boundaries. I have done triathlons, climbed mountains and will be completing a 400km cycle across Kenya in October for Regain, a spinal injury charity. I keep myself busy.

“There is a way to tackle everything and always a way around it. I may have lost the use of my arms and legs, but I have not lost my dreams.”