29 October 2019, Last night millions of ITV viewers saw Ben Clifford honoured at the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards 2019, in partnership with TSB. Ben is now a world-leader in new teaching and safety techniques, working with the Surfing Association to develop international standards for adaptive surfing, helping people with disabilities in surfing hotspots such as California, South Africa and Australia.
Ben Clifford, 34 years old, was awarded the TSB Community Partner award for setting up Britain’s first fully adaptive and inclusive surf school. ‘Surfability’ brings specialist equipment and adapted coaching techniques together to increase access to surfing for people with disabilities across the UK. Ben was first inspired to set up Surfability while studying at Swansea University. He taught himself to surf and after graduating qualified as a coach and lifeguard. Ben’s life changed when he was invited to volunteer at a surfing event in Devon. Running a session for children with autism, he witnessed the notable positive impact that surfing can have on young people. This inspired Ben to set up Surfability.
Based on Caswell Bay, a popular beach on the Gower peninsula in South Wales, the pioneering surf school helps people with additional needs to participate in surfing regularly, building both surfing and social skills. It is an inclusive organisation and if someone has a disability Ben has not seen before, he researches their condition, invents new kit, and develops techniques for them to take part safely.
Surfability has now become a world leader in adaptive surfing.
Ben Clifford comments: “My first thought on winning the award was that it should be for our surfers rather than myself. They are the most inspirational people who don’t let having disabilities ever stop them from pushing their limits. Their courage and desire to challenged themselves makes our community really special. I hope that this award lets us show people how inclusion can bring communities together and encourages other sports clubs to become more accessible.”
Debbie Crosbie, Chief Executive Officer, TSB says: “The Pride of Britain Awards play an important role in recognising incredible people who achieve extraordinary things.
“Congratulations to this year’s TSB Community Partner Award winner, Ben Clifford, who has been inspirational in creating Surfability, a pioneering surf school for people with disabilities and learning difficulties.”
Notes to editors
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