Nottinghamshire legend Robin Hood has always been an inspiration to Simon Wilson, who was always keen to follow his lead and take up an exhilarating pursuit.
But Simon could hardly have believed the success that would follow when he first picked up the mask and fencing sword in 2006. Within a year, he had made the GB squad, has been a national champion for the last four years – and is now representing his country in Wheelchair Fencing at London 2012.
Simon, who is in his early 50s, from Kimberley, said: "I am the current number one in Great Britain in the Class A Foil and Epee disciplines, but I am not complacent. It is a dream to represent my country and I have just been taking things month by month and focussing on the goal of London 2012"
His £2,012 grant from Nottinghamshire County Council helps subsidise his substantial training expenses and also the cost towards paying for international standard swords – more than £1,000 in total - which are a necessity to qualify to compete for ranking events.
Simon, who is ranked 20th in the world, says the Chinese are the team to watch in the Olympics when action gets under way at the ExCeL arena.
A member of the Nottingham City Fencing Club, Simon is an amputee following bone disease as a youngster, and first got a taste of fencing from local youth clubs he attended as a teenager with his Dad who was involved in the education service in Chesterfield.
He took up fencing again ten years ago and switched to wheelchair fencing in 2007 after being badgered by coaches and clubmates who praised his handspeed and said he would prosper as a wheelchair athlete – he has not looked back.