A wheelchair table tennis player hoping to represent England at the 2022 Commonwealth Para Games has thanked a Christchurch based recycling company for its ‘fantastic’ support.

Simon Heaps from Milford on Sea in Hampshire is a former European Cadet Champion and England international who switched to the para side of the sport after losing his lower right leg to diabetes last year.

Now aged 65, he originally retired from senior level competitions in 1979 but returned to play in 2016 before his diabetes worsened.

Having made his Great Britain Para debut at an international event in Costa Rica in December 2019, Simon has now struck a partnership deal with Dorset firm Eco Sustainable Solutions to help with his self-funded training and competition programme.

He said: “Age is no barrier to me as long as I have my upper body strength and am in tactical control of the wheelchair.

“At the same time, elite level sport entails expensive travelling and competition costs. The support from Eco is fantastic and will make a huge difference.

“As a competitor, you want to plan your campaign of events around best performance not just what you can afford.

“Sponsorship backing is vital to enable me to go that extra mile and be the very best I can be, so I’m really grateful to Eco for their support.”

One of his first tournaments as a wheelchair player was the 2019 BPTT Nottingham Para Open Grand Prix, where he won two silvers, in singles and doubles.

Sponsoring Simon is part of a range of community activities pursued by Eco in its 25th anniversary year.

Eco’s Commercial Director Peter Hardy added: “What Simon has achieved, both in his earlier years and since moving to wheelchair sport in the face of adversity, is truly inspiring.

“He is a very positive competitor, and we are thrilled to be partnering with him through a shirt-sponsorship agreement.

“We wish him the best of good fortune as he continues his training and tournament preparations.”