Sports fan meets snowboarding hero Ed Leigh during disability-adapted skiing session at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre

An avid snow-sports fan met Ski Sunday presenter Ed Leigh during a disability-adapted skiing session at the Snow Centre.

By Olivia Preston
Monday, 4th April 2022, 3:26 pm

David Richardson, who receives homecare from Right at Home Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree, had a surprise visit from the Olympic commentator and ex-professional snowboarder.

The 49-year-old was amazed to see Ed, who had flown over from Switzerland to meet him when he reached the bottom of the slope at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, during a special visit in March.

David said: “I’ve no words to describe how happy I am to have shared this with him. I love skiing because it makes me feel free. Going down a slope, my body isn’t getting in the way of me doing what I want to do.”

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David Richardson (left) meeting ex-snowboarder, Ed Leigh.

He added: “The whole experience made me feel like me, just me without a disability, so I would like to thank everyone who made my wish come true.”

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While at the Snow Centre, David was guided down the slopes using adapted skis designed for people with limited or no use of their legs.

This once-in-a-lifetime surprise was given to David as part of Right at Home UK’s tin-full of wishes campaign, which grants the special wishes of its clients.

Slopes at Hemel Hempstead's Snow Centre where David met his hero, Ed.

A carer of David’s nominated him for this experience as they wanted to recognise his positive outlook and determination to continue his hobbies including skiing, rock climbing and swimming, despite the physical challenges he faces.

Ed said: “It’s incredibly humbling to be called someone’s hero. I’m honoured that David could have had any wish and he asked to meet me. Probably the most inspirational thing about David is that he refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer! We can all learn a lot from David.”

He added: "I have many career highlights, but this experience is unforgettable. When I was asked to do this, there was no way I couldn’t come to meet him – how could anyone pass up the opportunity to make someone’s dream come true?"

The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead donated the use of its slopes and lift passes for the special day.