Paralympic champion Liz Johnson has been appointed Chair of the Panathlon Foundation charity, succeeding Andy Sutch who held the post for a decade.

Liz visited her first Panathlon event shortly after returning home with a gold medal having won the women’s SB6 100m breaststroke at the 2008 Beijing Games.

In her ambassadorial role for the charity, Liz has visited numerous events over the last 15 years and has seen first-hand the impact of Panathlon on children with disabilities and special needs.

Panathlon trustees (l-r) Adil Ghani, Simon Barker, Andy Sutch, Liz Johnson and Jayne Fieldhouse

“I’m incredibly proud of the growth of Panathlon since I saw my first event all those years ago,” said the former world champion. “The charity’s expansion across England and Wales and development of new sports and programmes have met the needs of many thousands of pupils.

“Panathlon adapted quickly to offer meaningful activities during the pandemic and then announced record growth figures shortly afterwards, bucking the national trend of declining sports participation. Recent research which showed Panathlon’s positive ripple effect on school environments and communities is also something to be proud of.”

Liz added: “I’d like to thank Andy Sutch the Chair for the last 10 years, for guiding the charity through this period and I am excited to lead the next chapter.”

Liz with former Panathlete Lenny Rush – now a BAFTA award-winning actor – at a Panathlon event at the London Aquatic Centre

The retiring Andy said: “I’d like to thank my fellow Board members and management team who have created what is now a national charity with massive impact. Recent independent research backs up
what we hear and see on a weekly if not daily basis.

“I have been very proud to Chair this charity for the last ten years and Liz is a brilliant appointment. Not only has she reached the ultimate highs that sporting excellence brings, but she knows the sporting infrastructure of the country and has tremendous knowledge and enthusiasm for creating inclusion at every level, demonstrated by her work at The Ability People where she strives to create workplace equity.”

Andy will remain close to the current Board and will support Liz over the next period.