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Meet Fran

Paralympian swimmer Fran is a 5 time World Champion. She’s due to marry her fiancé Chris, who works as an Involvement Coordinator for Papworth Trust, later this year.

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Falling in love

“We met online quite randomly, got talking and the rest is history as they say,” says Chris. “We found we shared an interest in sport. Fran is a champion swimmer and I was involved in rowing, coxing my college team and at national level at one point.

“Fran and I share the same outlook on life. We have our challenges as we both have cerebral palsy, but we are determined to make the most of our lives and what it throws at us. Our disability is not a barrier, just something to be worked around.”

Becoming a champion

“At school I couldn’t swim at all until I was 12 because I was absolutely terrified of water,” admits Fran. “I couldn’t even put my foot in the pool because I thought I might drown.

“When I was first learning to swim I kept saying “I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it. But if I’d kept saying ‘I can’t swim’, I’d have missed out on a lot. I swam for Great Britain for 10 years. Altogether I’ve got 23 international medals, so I did quite well, and I was quite busy! So I’m really glad I tried.”

Willpower matters

“I’m a very stubborn person,” says Fran. “If I think I can’t do something to start with, I tend to keep trying until I can do it. I always say if you don’t try, you don’t know. There’s always a way round everything, you just have to find it.”