The sky's the limit! 11 things to know about Rebecca, Vice Chair of Kidz Board

Meet the super-sporty deputy leader of our young wheelchair advocacy group

They say opposites attract. Rebecca, the new Vice Chair of Kidz Board, loves pandas. An animal famous for their inactivity is her favourite, yet Rebecca must be a semi-permanent blur; she fits in so many high-level sports and adventurous outdoor pursuits around a Biomedical Engineering degree at Kings College London. Giant pandas live on a diet of bamboo leaves and shoots. Rebecca reckons she “could live off just potatoes” in all their many delicious forms. One thing they have in common is that they’re both big on social media.

Rebecca is the deputy leader of Kidz Board’s collective of 12 young wheelchair users from different areas of the UK. They all bring their own experiences to this award-winning group that collaborates with the charity on partnerships, events, policy, campaigns, and projects. Their mission is to make a difference to other young wheelchair users. If that sounds like you, find out more about joining.

In the meantime, learn more about what Rebecca brings to Whizz Kidz, from a desire to make young wheelchair users' voices heard to a good batting average.

1. She has a mean tennis backhand

"I play wheelchair tennis. We train every Tuesday at the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton. It’s a great location with excellent facilities and coaches, plus there’s a chance to bump into tennis stars who are also training there. The England wheelchair tennis players are very successful, and it’s exciting to be part of the set-up. I actually first tried wheelchair tennis at a Whizz Kidz club event and loved it so much that I now do it every week!"

2. She's a poster girl for Surrey Cricket

"I play for the Surrey pan-disability cricket team and the Surrey wheelchair cricket team. I was also part of the Surrey Cricket kit launch for 2023, and a photo of me in my wheelchair wearing the training kit was on all the scorecards and around the Oval cricket ground. You also can’t miss me in the Surrey Cricket Foundation impact reports! I am captain of the S9 team as well as the wheelchair team and enjoy inspiring others to play their best. I am often the only wheelchair user at other training events and sometimes amuse myself by shocking non-disabled players (and their parents!) that I can actually play!"

3. She's taking on the healthcare challenges of the future

"I’m in my first year of studying Biomedical Engineering at King’s College London. I hope to use what I learn to create better (and cheaper!) assistive devices for disabled people and improve people’s lives through healthcare. I have joined the engineering society, the robotics society, and the disabled students’ society, so I’m never short of things to do!"

4. She wants to be there for young people

I’m passionate about improving the lives of young people and, in particular, disabled young people. Therefore, I am involved with other youth advocacy groups. I am on the Youth Advisory Board for NCS (National Citizen Service), the Ambitious about Autism youth council and youth advisory group, the Disabled Children’s Partnership youth advisory group and the Surrey Cricket Youth Forum. Together, we can make a difference when our voices are heard."

5. She's close to royalty: the Queen, King, Archbishop, and Tanni Grey-Thompson!

"I volunteered at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant and the King’s Coronation as part of NCS. At the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant, I handed out the gift bags to the ‘VIPs’, which included Tanni Grey-Thompson, who said it was great to see wheelchair users being involved in the volunteering! At the King’s Coronation, I was lucky to be in St Margaret’s Church right next to the coronation ceremony. We got a special mention from the Archbishop of Canterbury in his speech, and we even had lunch with him at Lambeth Palace afterwards!"

6. Pandas have a special place in her heart

"My favourite animal is a panda. I have seen pandas in eight different countries. I also went back multiple times to Washington Zoo as there were new baby pandas to see. We would go early in the morning so they would be more active. I find it relaxing to sit and watch them play and eat. I was lucky to go with the keeper behind the scenes to feed one in Copenhagen Zoo. We are hoping to go to see the pandas in France this summer."

7. She loves her teal wheelchair

"My favourite colour is teal. I have a teal and candy-blue coloured wheelchair. I also have rainbow-coloured spokes. I think it’s important to love the look of your wheelchair and be proud of it, especially when you spend so long in it. Having a personalised chair means that when people say ‘cool wheelchair’, you can believe them!"

8. AFC Wimbledon is her team, and she knows their Womble mascot

"I support my local team, AFC Wimbledon. I am a season ticket holder for the men’s matches and also attend many of the women’s matches. Their mascot, Haydon the Womble, always comes over to say hello to me and even gave me a little Womble."

9. She loves trying new activities from indoor skydiving to rock climbing

"I have had the chance to take part in some amazing Whizz Kidz activities, including indoor skydiving, adaptive skiing, archery, water skiing and rock climbing. These were great opportunities to challenge myself to try new activities in a supportive environment. They made me feel free and powerful. I’ve also enjoyed the craft activities, such as making my own Morph and Shaun the Sheep figures."

10. Accessible activities in the Lake District are her holiday pick

"I loved going on a holiday with my friend to Calvert Lakes, an accessible residential activity centre in the Lake District. I went abseiling in my wheelchair, rock climbing, hand cycling, and swimming. The staff there were so supportive and just ‘got it’."

11. Potatoes are her favourite fuel

"My favourite food is potatoes. I love all the different formats (provided they are vegan and gluten-free). This covers chips, potato waffles, jacket potatoes, roast potatoes, crisps, mashed potatoes, hash browns, etc. I could live off just potatoes!"

To find out more about Rebecca's love of cricket and activity holidays with the Calvert Trust, check out Kidz Board's favourite accessible activities.