Charity beneficiary Mark Harding breathes fire in to new Dragon Boat team
Today a new dragon boat club emerges to join the thousands worldwide, but this one is different. Purple Warriors is a club solely for serving and retired members of HM Forces who, as a result of their service to this country, are suffering from some form of impairment.
One of the founders and beneficiary of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Mark Harding, was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2010 and told he would never walk again. In 2014, he paddled for GB, in an able-bodied crew, in the European Dragon Boat Championships.
Purple Warriors will compete this year against British able-bodied dragon boat crews. The club is also working with the International Dragon Boat Federation to have an impaired crew category in the 2018 European Championships and 2019 World Championships, and with the Invictus Games for inclusion of the sport in the 2017 Toronto Games.
Nigel Bedford, one of the Club’s founders, is a retired Army officer and GB paddler. He said “Purple Warriors is about inspiration and achievement. When you are in a dragon boat no one will be able to see people’s impairments – what they will see is a crew committed to making a difference for each other and determined to take on the best, and win.”
Find out more about Purple Warriors at www.purplewarriors.org