Former Welsh First Minister, the late Rhodri Morgan, once wrote that Wales’s relationship with sport is different from most other countries. Though Wales lacks the institutional trappings of nationhood that most nations have, provided it has its sporting heroes – its boxers and bowlers, its footballers and fly halves:
“We could do without our own royal family, our own parliament, national cathedral or supreme court. Our heroes reassured us that we were not going to disappear as a nation.”
It is fitting then that Sporting Heritage has been working in Wales since the pandemic to develop a strategic framework for sporting heritage and thanks to support from the Welsh Government is taking this work forward in 2023.
Supporting and championing this work will be double Paralympian and double World Champion Pippa Britton OBE, who has recently been appointed as a Sporting Heritage Ambassador, the first from Wales.
From Newport, Pippa has had a record-breaking career and is Wales’s most successful archer, finishing on the podium in six consecutive para-archery World Championships and representing Wales in able-bodied competitions more than 20 times.
During Pippa’s career she received major spinal surgery twice and has used these experiences as a way of providing inspiration to others and since retiring from competing she has used her experience as a way of giving back. As well as motivational speaking she has taken on strategic roles on the boards of various organisations such as Sport Wales, Disability Sport Wales, the UK Anti-Doping, and the British Paralympic Association. Earlier this year in her home city she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of South Wales and was also appointed an OBE in the King’s birthday honours.
Pippa said, “I’m delighted to be the first Welsh Sporting Heritage ambassador. Every elite athlete was a beginner somewhere and was inspired by not just a champion in their sport, but by someone in their local community.
“It is important to me that we don’t forget how our local communities and volunteers support sport and I want us all to remember and protect this heritage as well as celebrate success in the wider sporting population. I am delighted to be asked to support this important work.”
Co-ordinator for Sporting Heritage in Wales, Russell Todd, said, “Pippa will be an outstanding addition to what is already an impressive list of Ambassadors we have across the UK. I’m looking forward to her championing sporting heritage in Wales and bringing her experience at a strategic level in sport to the benefit of our framework for the sporting heritage of Wales.”
You can follow Pippa on X (formerly Twitter) at @pippabritton
You can hear more from Pippa Britton in this podcast episode recorded ahead of National Sporting Heritage Day #NSHD2023. Russell Todd asks Pippa about her sporting story, archery community, motives for taking on the governance roles since her retirement from competitive sport, and her feelings on becoming an ambassador for sport in/of Wales: