SALE-based Paralympic cycling medallist Jon-Allan Butterworth has won a top military award Jon-Allan, who joined the RAF aged 16 and almost lost his life in a rocket attack in Basra, will be presented with ‘the Sport Endeavour Award’ at the fourth annual Soldiering on Awards on April 5 at the Park Plaza Hotel in London.
The awards are designed to raise awareness of the plight of servicemen and women and to raise funds for those injured and the families who tirelessly support thse who are wounded.
The awards are given to exceptional people who have returned to do extraordinary things in the face of adversity.
Jon-Allan has been recognised for his extraordinary achievements.
Stationed in Basra, Iraq, Jon-Allan was a technician prepping flares for helicopters and working with weapons. He was involved in a rocket attack in August 2007, which blew him several metres away.
At the time, Jon-Allan recalls his arm was hanging there and bleeding heavily yet he refused to panic.
Medics fought to save his life as he moved in and out of consciousness and woke up the next day without an arm.
Jon-Allan was in a critical condition yet he battled through this near death situation like a true champion.
A few months later he was ready to move on with his life. While recovering at Headley Court in Surrey, he attended the Battle Back open day at Loughborough University. The programme is designed to help wounded personnel get back into sport and those with aptitude for a particular sport are given the opportunity to compete nationally. Jon-Allan was spotted by GB Cycling scouts and in 2009 he accepted a contract with the GB Paralympic Development Squad.
In March 2012 he became a world champion in the C5 class of 1km time trial.
Then he won three silver medals in the Paralympics - in the 1km individual time trial, the 4km individual pursuit and in the mixed team sprint.
In 2009 he had approached the RAF Association for support with his cycling dream. At this point other charities had turned him down as he had no medals or titles to his name. The association saw his determination to succeed and helped him financially with sponsorship of £4,500 a year. Jon-Allan has mentioned on several occasions that he wouldn’t be where he is today without their help.
Jon-Allan is currently training for the Para-cycling Track World Championships, which will be held in Aguascalientes, Mexico in April.
He will then look forward to Rio 2016.