Geoff's Mexican trip helps prove that being disabled is no obstacle


A chance radio interview led record-breaking disabled sailor Geoff Holt to be invited over to Mexico to talk about his inspirational life story.

Marketing executive Carlos De Luna happened to hear Mr Holt talking on Mexican radio about completing his bid to sail solo across the Atlantic.

Mr De Luna was so inspired by what Mr Holt had achieved, that he decided to invite him to speak.

The 44-year-old - who has been a quadriplegic since a swimming accident aged 18 - gave a motivational talk earlier this month as keynote speaker to more than 1,200 at a marketing conference in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

During his whistle-stop trip Mr Holt paid a visit to a children's rehabilitation centre, one used by Mr De Luna's 13-year-old daughter Valerie, who has cerebral palsy.

Mr Holt, from Shedfield, near Fareham, said: 'Carlos told me that his daughter was the real reason why he wanted me to come and speak.

'He wanted people to see that just because you are disabled it won't stop you achieving things.

'He told me that when people look at his daughter he wants them to think of the great things she can do - not what she can't do.'

About 400 youngsters visit the centre each day and it has more than 1,500 children on its books.

'It was a very, very special place,' he added.

'When I gave my talk the next day, about 10 of them came from the centre to hear it which was very moving.

'I was very humbled by it all.'

Mr Holt is planning to keep his Mexican ties as Mr De Luna's family are now hoping to visit the UK next year.

The trip comes as Mr Holt prepares today to be made an MBE at Windsor Castle.

He was due to be presented with the award by the Queen this morning.

He has been made an MBE for his contribution to disabled sailing and his many years of fund and awareness raising.

He said: 'I've never met the Queen before. I saw her from a distance when I was at Princess Anne's 50th birthday, but I've never been introduced, so I'm quite looking forward to it.'

Mr Holt, who has also sailed round Great Britain on his own and written a book about his life, will be joined at Windsor by wife Elaine and their son Tim.