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Former Hornchurch Paralympian speaks to the Recorder about his second book

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 March 2017

Former Paralympian with guide dog Izzy

Former Paralympian with guide dog Izzy

Archant

From competing in the 1976 winter Paralympics to setting up his own sports club and taking on a major role in London bidding for the 2012 Olympic games, one 66-year-old blind man has achieved more than most of us.

Mike Brace, of Elm Park Road, Hornchurch, lost most of his sight at the age of 10 after a firework accident but he did not let this hold him back. Mike has just published his second book Don’t Ask Me, Ask the Dog, which tells of his sporting career and how he has helped others with disabilities over the past 30 years.

He said: “I think the fundamental thing for me that I want to happen is that it gets people to laugh with me on aspects of disability and help to challenge people’s perceptions.

“A lot of people tend to see the disability but not the actual person and that’s what I want to try and change.”

Mike became fully blind three years following the firework accident after blowing a trumpet at a football match, which caused a haemorrhage.

But he did not let this get in his way and embarked on a successful Paralympic career, competing at the 1976 winter Olympics in cross-country skiing. He took part in six other Paralympic Games in a number of disciplines.

He decided to set up Metro Blind Sport in 1973, a charity which opens doors to sport for blind and partially sighted people of all ages before becoming chairman of Paralympics GB.

This led to his involvement in the bid for the London 2012 Olympics.

He said: “I am a sports fanatic so to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world was unbelievable.

“I was surrounded by sporting legends and the memories from that time will always stay with me.”

Don’t Ask Me, Ask the Dog not only follows Mike’s career but also his decision to get his first guide dog eight-year-old Izzy.

He said: “It was hard enough work taking care of myself let alone a dog but as I got older, I wanted to go further and walk more and thought it was about the right time.

“I’ve focused the title of the book on getting a guide dog as well because people tend to think they’re super dogs but really I’m telling her what to do!”

Don’t Ask Me, Ask the Dog is available on Kindle.

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