On International Day of People with Disabilities we’re highlighting Ronnie, one of the amazing people we support on behalf of Cheshire East Council.

Ronnie is a 9 times British Gymnastic Champion and has won numerous other national and international awards throughout his career including the World Games in the USA where he became World Champion. We spoke to his sister Tina and AFG Team Leader Christine about his incredible achievements and what makes him so special.

How did Ronnie get into gymnastics?

Ronnie started going to a gymnastics centre in Crewe from the age of 9. His coaches saw his talent and potential and he was invited to join the squad. His coaches trained him to compete and perform in displays and he absolutely loved it.

What were some highlights of his gymnastics career?

Ronnie travelled all over the world competing and winning hundreds of golds and silver medals – he still has them all. He never liked to lose, and he rarely did! He excelled at the P bars, vault and his amazing floor routines – he was an incredible performer.

He even became the world champion in America’s Special Olympics in 1983, where he was lucky enough to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger and Princess Diana!

Ronnie was also asked to be the face of a cinema advertisement video about the prejudices faced by disabled people in 1995 for the John Groom’s Association for Disabled People.

What did he do next?

He loved his gymnastic family and carried on coaching for years after he stopped competing. He retired when he was about 40.

What does Ronnie enjoy doing today?

Whilst Ronnie doesn’t do gymnastics anymore, he loves to dance and will often put on performances for his support staff. He loves spending quality time with his family, trips into town to the potteries centre, having lunch out and shopping. He also loves watching quiz shows (and is very quick with the answers), all the soaps and playing games on his DS.

Aside from his sporting achievements, what makes Ronnie inspiring?

Christine: Ronnie is a very helpful person – he loves to make his support team a brew and generally help out. He would never watch anyone struggle with anything, like carrying shopping – he’s a real gentleman. He is a lovely gentle soul and enjoys a more relaxed way of life nowadays.

Tina: When Ronnie was born the doctors didn’t hold out much hope for him and his life ahead, but he has achieved so much. Very little upsets him in life, he takes things on the chin, and he loves people. Whenever he’s had any hardships he deals with it in his own way – we couldn’t be prouder of him. He’ll always be ‘Our Ronnie.’