Mike describes below the three themes that form the basis of his speeches:
It’s Ability That Counts
I often say there is nothing funny about being disabled, but at times, being disabled can be quite funny!
I was born in Hackney in 1950 and whilst playing football on Stoke Newington Common aged ten, I picked up a medicine bottle with the lid screwed on. Unfortunately for me, there was a firework hidden inside it which exploded in my face!
Following a long time in hospital I eventually resumed my life but as someone with severely restricted vision that was tough, but the sudden change in the attitude towards me of the people I came into contact with was even tougher to cope with!
I would be asked all kinds of funny and silly things like:
“do you have a BLIND dog”! Or “how long have you been UNSIGHTLY”!
This talk attempts to get my audience to laugh with me, at some of the situations I have got myself into over the years, and the role sport has played in my life in helping me to achieve my goals and fulfil my dreams.
This Is Your Life
When Eamon Andrews accosted me outside Bush House (the headquarters of the World Service of the BBC in 1981), and uttered those never to be forgotten words,
“Mike Brace, This Is Your Life”,
I was firstly lost for words and secondly, overwhelmed! I was only 31, so was that it then? Had I already done everything that I was going to do with my life?
This talk goes through the build up to being featured as the subject of “This Is Your Life”, and the roller coaster of emotions I went through, as important people from my family, sporting and working careers came onto the stage and said nice things about me.
My lasting memories of the evening though were ones of flatulence, and hoping the 500 strong audience in the theatre wouldn’t be too disappointed that I wasn’t a celebrity!
From Stoke Newington, to Singapore and back again!
When Jacques Rogge opened the envelope in the room in Singapore in July 2005, and announced that the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were to be in: “London”, I couldn’t help thinking of the incredible journey I had been on so far, and the even more incredible journey which still lay ahead of me.
I was born in Hackney only a few hundred yards from where the stadiums were to be built and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were to be held!
This talk outlines my appointment to the bid team to secure the Games for London, the struggles and battles I had to get many of my colleagues or political figures to acknowledge the importance of the Paralympic aspect to the bid, and the subsequent planning needed to ensure that both games were a success.
I frequently had to pinch myself when having coffee in the breaks during the meetings and chatting with my fellow board members i.e. Princess Anne, Sir Steve Redgrave and Seb Coe!
There were many funny moments too, which, if I am plied with enough alcohol when giving my talk, I might be persuaded to tell all!