Lucy Shuker is an inspirational athlete, double Paralympic Bronze medallist, three-time Wimbledon finalist and engaging motivational speaker. Among her many career highlights are winning Great Britain’s first ever Women’s Wheelchair Tennis medal at London 2012 alongside Jordanne Whiley; subsequently representing GB at three successive Paralympics; being the first British player to contest wheelchair tennis events at all four major Grand Slams and being placed as high as World No.5 in the World Rankings. Today, Bournemouth University is delighted to award Lucy an Honorary Doctorate of Arts.
“It’s so humbling, it’s amazing. I’m going to have such fond memories of my graduation compared to the first time around, which was just after my accident. So today is one of those memories that I will truly cherish. You’ve made me feel part of the university even though I didn’t study here and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
While Lucy has achieved an astonishing amount in her sports career, her advice for those looking to emulate her success is to keep working – and hard.
“You’re always going to be challenged. You need to set goals, and when you achieve those goals you need to set more. Keep striving to be the best version of yourself. Life is for living, and that’s one thing that I’ve realised. You’ll face challenges but it’s how you overcome them that makes your life worthwhile.”
Lucy’s world changed forever when a motorcycle accident left her paralysed from the chest down. Since this life changing event, she has gone on to achieve remarkable things in the world of wheelchair tennis.
“It’s tough because for me I’d just been life; I graduated from university the first time round then had my accident and at that point I didn’t know what I was going to do. My body was obviously very different – what I was able to do physically. Then I found wheelchair tennis and that sport has propelled me and my life; and I’ve overcome my disability and I overcome challenges every day. I’ve embraced it, I’ve worked hard and I continue to work hard and I’m loving life. So for me, life is there for living and for grabbing every opportunity.”
For people considering a move into the world of sport, Lucy has some inspiring words of wisdom.
“Embrace it. Aim high. And keep aiming high. Keep achieving, keep pushing yourself, and enjoy every minute that you have to live. You just don’t know where it’s going to take you.”
“Don’t be scared. Disability sport or able bodied sport – doesn’t matter which avenue you go down - you’ll face challenges and you’ll have to face things that you have to overcome. But for me personally, Paralympic sport is so exciting, it’s so varied, it’s not the norm that you’re used to. But for me when I see the prosthetic limbs, I think they’re fascinating what people are able to do and achieve. For me, if you have the opportunity to get into Paralympic sport, go for it, don’t be scared.”