A Paralympian and former wheelchair basketball international, now spearheading the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Include Me campaign, has received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding sporting achievements and promotion of active lives for disabled people.
Mark Fosbrook, who is on secondment to the WMCA from his role as engagement advisor with the Activity Alliance charity, was presented with his honorary Phd in philosophy from the University of Gloucestershire at a degree ceremony today (20th November).
The married father-of-two, who lives in Oswestry, is leading the campaign through which organisations that sign up show their commitment to breaking down the barriers disabled people face to being more active by listening to and understanding their needs.
Mark Fosbrook, awarded an honorary Phd in philosophy
As well as placing disabled people at the heart of the process, the campaign aims to influence other factors such as transport, housing and infrastructure to create more inclusivity and equality of opportunity.
In his citation Mark, aged 43, was described as “a tireless ambassador for sport” whose work also includes giving motivational guest appearances at schools and groups and inspiring budding athletes of all ages.
His sporting career spanned two decades, winning silver and gold European Championship medals in basketball, representing Great Britain in volleyball at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics, and in wheelchair rugby at the World Championships. He also competed at a national level in swimming and rowing.
Mark, a graduate of the university, having studied at the then Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, said: “I feel extremely honoured to be recognised by the university in such a prestigious way. I was completely shocked when I was notified as it was totally unexpected.
“I have always played sport and worked, and have been lucky enough to experience some success in work and by representing my country.
“However, after retiring from basketball to focus on family and work I never imagined I would feel that level of honour again. I was wrong - to be further recognised with this award for my sport and also my work to get more disabled people active, is right up there with my some of my proudest moments.”
Sean Russell, implementation director mental health, wellbeing and radical prevention, added: “Mark very much deserves this recognition as he is truly inspirational and passionate about reducing inequalities and increasing inclusivity for disabled people.
“The successes of the Include Me WM campaign, which is going from strength to strength with more than 30 organisations already having signed up to it in just six months, is very much down to his hard work and enthusiasm.”