Jamie joined the Royal Navy aged 17, following a life-long dream to work with naval jets and aircraft carriers. He trained as an aeronautical engineer and was posted to a sea harrier squadron. However, at 19, Jamie had a life changing event and lost sight in both eyes bringing his naval career and dream to an end turning his life upside down.
After losing his sight, Jamie was told his life was over, but took this is a challenge to break down perceptions of what blind people can achieve. Jamie talks about how he lost his sight and then took it on as a challenge to manage his blindness. He talks how he has succeeded in the academic, corporate world, in para skiing, outdoor adventures and more recently his acting and stand-up comedy skills. Jamie has overcome more challenges and barriers than most people will ever face. His story will take you on a powerful journey as he shares his deep personal struggles, highs, his lows and how he has built up his resilience and growth mind-set to succeed.
Becoming an inspirational speaker for the Making Generation R Project enabled Jamie to share his story of resilience and to encourage others to overcome their own personal challenges. He has spoken at many schools over the last 5 years and reach many young people. His talk is aimed at developing resilience in young people, helping students develop strategies to deal with everyday issues by improving their self-esteem, confidence and by reducing anxiety. Feedback to Jamie has shown that his talks have had a huge positive impact on the students and teachers.
After losing his sight, Jamie retrained, studying mathematics at Warwick University, and became a qualified tax Consultant. Jamie was the first registered blind member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and worked in the high-pressured world of Deloitte for many years, both for clients and teaching tax to graduates. In 2012 he carried the Olympic torch during the London Olympics relay after being nominated by his work colleagues for being an inspiration to them.
In 2014 Jamie joined the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team and represented GB as an alpine and cross country ski racer. He has taken part in the Invictus Games winning four bronze medals in cycling and track running.
Jamie loves taking on challenges. In 2017 Jamie embarked on a personal fund raising challenge to trek to Mount Everest’s Base Camp. In Jamie’s words “Being blind or having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures. This was an incredibly difficult challenge being visually impaired given varied terrain and altitude”.
The theatre company Bravo 22 presented another opportunity for Jamie to push himself as well as to learn new skills and to involve his guide dog, Freddie. Jamie (along with Freddie) appeared in a theatre production at the Birmingham Hippodrome, “Reparation Island”. Jamie has recently trained as a ‘stand up’ comic with the Royal British Legion’s comedy project and is going to perform a number of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August also with his guide dog, Freddie.
Jamie has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of The City of London’. In 2019 Jamie was recognised as being one of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK being part of the Shaw Trust Power 100. Jamie is also a speaker and ambassador for Guide Dogs UK, Blesma and The Royal British Legion.
Jamie says “Being blind is a daily challenge. I manage my blindness; it does not define or manage me. It’s a real frustration but I solve the problems and then get on with my life. Hope, determination and resilience can surpass all else.”
'Jamie's talk was great. His opening works so well in getting the students to be in his shoes.'– Teacher, Royal Russell School, Croyden
'Jamie's story was great - the opening is so powerful and really makes the students think. He is a very confident speaker and the students warm to him quickly'
'Jamie delivered his story really well, using a microphone very naturally to speak to such a large room. The delivery was well paced and engaging.'– Lotte Johnson, Teacher, Bishop Ramsey CofE Secondary School.
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