Talan Skeels-Piggins is a former Royal Navy fighter controller and was a PE teacher at St Laurence School, Bradford On Avon.
He was involved in a motorcycle accident in March 2003, which shattered his spine and broke his neck. Left paralysed from the chest down, and told he would spend up to two years in hospital upon admission, Talan defied expectations to be discharged only six and a half months later.
Undaunted by his injuries, he set about a series of challenges to prove to himself and the world that being in a wheelchair would not stop him from achieving what he wanted to do.
In less than a year, he had returned to his passion for skiing in a specially adapted sit-ski and on the first anniversary of his accident he took part (and won) the Bath Half marathon in a race chair.
Learning to ski was not enough of a challenge for Talan, and he set himself a goal of representing Great Britain at the 2010 Winter Paralympics, giving himself just seven years from the tie of his accident to learn to ski, get into the team and meet the demanding section criteria to make the British Paralympic Squad.
Despite numerous setbacks and personal tragedies, seven years after starting to ski, Talan represented Great Britain at the tenth Winter Paralympics, with a best result of 15th in the Giant Slalom and 26th in the Super G event (becoming the best placed male GB skier at the Games).
The following year Talan improved upon his performances and became European Champion for Super G. A shoulder injury forced retirement from competitive skiing but Talan had set himself another goal – to race a motorcycle against able bodied competitors.
During this journey he founded The Bike Experience charity which teaches, advises and enables disabled people to ride Motorcycles.
After a difficult battle with the authorities, he was finally granted a motorcycle race licence in 2011. The licence only allowed him to compete in Hill-Climbs, Sprints and Twisty Sprints. Then in 2012, with the help of Dave Stewart from Club Thundersport GB, he became the first paraplegic to compete in short circuit road racing. This ruling changed the course of motorcycle history and set a precedence which allowed other disabled riders to become racers.
These are only a few of the challenges Talan has faced in his life. His unique personality, never say die attitude and experience of triumph over adversity has inspired and paved the way for others.