2006 – 2007 – PORT-ER is founded


PORT-ER IS FOUNDED: PORT-ER was formed in 2006 in response to the world need for improving the standards of care for people who require the use of artificial limbs or splints – both in the UK and internationally. Some 25.5 million people in the world are estimated to need prosthetic limbs or orthotic devices. The launch of PORT-ER saw the creation of a unique funding source that was conceived by a group of friends aware of the tremendous need for improved provision of prostheses and orthoses both at home and abroad. Key milestones in the first year included:

  • the establishment of PORT-ER
  • the identification of our patron, Michael Caines
  • our inaugural Ball in Devon
  • a fundraising launch event dinner in Glasgow

PORT-ER International grant: our first funding grant was made to support a training course for Pakistani prosthetics lecturers to learn more about prosthetic legs. The course had to be postponed because of bombings in the Pakistan region and eventually was provided in 2008 in Glasgow. The earthquake in Pakistan saw thousands of people injured and disabled as a result of traumatic injuries. News headlines quickly moved away from this natural disaster, however the victims of the earthquake continue to have limited access to rehabilitation services or highly trained allied health professionals.

2007-2008 PORT-ER Grants and PORT-ER Running Master Classes


PORT-ER UK grant: £500 was awarded to Moving Forward, a Prosthetics User Group at the Disablement Services Centre, St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth. The aim of the project is to create an information centre /point in the reception area of the Disablement Services Centre (DSC) that is highly visible and accessible to all users of the DSC and which can provide information to prosthetic limb users.

PORT-ER International grant: £400 was Specialist Physiotherapist, Penny Broomhead (right) received £400 towards a training visit to an Ethiopian prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation centre at the request of Jimma University Hospital, Ethiopia. Penny went with a team from Nottingham who have supported the hospital for some years. Penny taught the Jimma prosthetic rehabilitation team techniques to help people with limb amputations to get as mobile as possible.

PORT-ER granted international flight costs from England for two marathon runners who use prosthetic legs, namely Richard Whitehead who ran the Berlin marathon and Colin Edwards (left) who ran the New York marathon. Colin kindly supported PORT-ER in return and raisedfunds through sponsorship.

PORT-ER Running master classes: we were able to deliver two events in Glasgow (9th June 2007) and Loughborough (29th September 2007). This project brought together prosthetic leg users with sports and rehabilitation specialists (for example, experienced runner Wallace Currie (right) who assisted at the running master classes) to try out fitness techniques and gain confidence in running in two fabulous sporting venues.

The Glasgow event was a collaborative effort with the Murray foundation and was held at Murray Park training ground. We hired the High Performance Athletics Centre in Loughborough for the second master class.

Feedback from the events was very positive and included the following comment:

“It was most certainly one of the best days I’ve had since my new life started and it has returned a bit of myself respect and confidence. I took my eleven year old son to his footy match on Sunday where we had running races to help him cool down afterwards. There aren’t words to describe how I felt, mind you my son just said “not bad for an old man” “



Running Master Class took place in Exeter in May when prosthetic users and sports and rehabilitation professionals came together to share their expertise on running. Feedback from the event was very positive.

PORT-ER UK grant: £400 was awarded toLuton & Dunstable DSC Prosthetic User Group to support their amputee swimming club.

A footwear design collection “Designed by Children” was compiled from entries to a PORT-ER children’s design competition and Footwear_designed_by_children-webversion to inspire special footwear designers to incorporate children’s ideas into their product.


STRATEGIC INPUT: PORT-ER provided strategic input and administrative support under the funding sporting prosthetics for everyday and elite athletes with a disability (SPEEAD) initiative. The SPEEAD was made possible by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the University of Strathclyde’s collaborative training account and PORT-ER’s involvement was funded at £9506 over 2008/9 and 2009/1. The initiative involved a number of partner organisations.

Colin Edwards, trustee, formally represented PORT-ER on the steering group for the SPEEAD sporting prosthetics project and also contributed to two master classes and a national conference as an expert user and long distance runner. The remaining trustees all supported the SPEEAD work through registering master class participants, answering queries and promoting the events.

Two SPEEAD Master Classes took place in Glasgow and Loughborough in June 2010. These SPEEAD Master classes brought together over 100 people across two professional sporting venues in Glasgow and Loughborough to try out different sports. A large supportive team of Master class tutors comprised athletes and rehabilitation professionals. Feedback from the events was very positive with many people trying out sports for the first time.

A SPEEAD Scientific Conference with places for over 100 delegates took place at the national sports venue Hampden in Glasgow in September 2010 with national and international experts on prosthetic use, sports and rehabilitation providing a wealth of information to registrants.

SPEEAD administration: PORT-ER was funded to promote the events and also to support registrations. PORT-ER also provided steering group input. A number of people helped PORT-ER deliver this activity, including a group of prosthetist/orthotist students who completed a national mailing of 5000 flyers with a trustee. PORT-ER donated £200 for the students help which was used to help fund a field trip.


4th PORT-ER RUNNING MASTER CLASS: Sunday 20th March 2011, University of Bath, England, fulfilling the information and skills development requests of a number of amputees who wanted to learn to run and improve their technique.

PORT-ER International Grant: £1,500 was awarded to Human Study to supplement the training of 20 prosthetist/orthotist students from landmine affected Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

PORT-ER International Grant: £927 funding for small business skills training for wheelchair users in India.


PORT-ER UK grant: £1,200 was awarded to amputee runner, Colin Edwards to take time out of work for the South West Coastal Path Challenge. He completed a 630 mile challenge run and slashed days off his target finish date. Colin set out on 1st May 2011 and finished clocking up his challenge miles on 18 June 2011. He proved to be a great inspiration to many people and significantly raised awareness of our work. PORT-ER also covered expenses of £2,069.16 in support of the challenge. Colin, in turn, raised much more than the challenge costs for PORT-ER to support us in our work.

PORT-ER International grant: £1,959 was awarded to The Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technology (TATCOT) to provide mobility devices for local people with disabilities. This was in response to a grant application. The assessment, design, fabrication, fitting and delivery of all the assistive devices were done by TATCOT Students under close supervision of Clinical/Practical Instructors. TATCOT reported that the project has enabled children and middle-aged adult in acquiring assistive devices otherwise not available to them. The project also enlightened and motivated the school authority to visit schools and other community based centres which are supporting people with physical disabilities and establish collaboration for students’ community based training.

PORT-ER UK grant: £1,500 was awarded to the Luton Limb Fitting Centre User Group’s Step Up project in response to a grant application. The Luton Centre developed a piece of land to have different walking surfaces, steps and cambers to help new amputees do outdoor walking training as part of their rehabilitation.

AWARD TO PORT-ER: £2,000 was received following an application from PORT-ER to Exeter City council. This, along with significant sponsorship from companies, enabled us to deliver our first One Life Live It! Lifestyle Exhibition at Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol in September 2011. PORT-ER’s first exhibition brought together exhibitors, volunteers and visitors to showcase services, products, experiences and innovations that illustrated the many lifestyle choices for people with physical disabilities. The event provided a fabulous networking forum for 150 people and the combination of local and national exhibitors provided a rich source of displays, information and advice.

EXHIBITION on 11.11.2011: CEO, Diana Corrick represented PORT-ER at the Sporting Prosthetics Conference at Hampden National Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland.

PORT-ER’s ONE LIFE – LIVE IT EXHIBITION. 9 September 2011: Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, England, UK. PORT-ER’s 2011 exhibition brought together exhibitors, volunteers and visitors to showcase services, products, experiences and innovations that illustrated different lifestyle choices for people with physical disabilities. The event provided a fabulous networking forum for 150 people and the combination of local and national exhibitors provided a rich source of displays, information and advice. This exhibition show was for people with mobility challenges and their carers and was a showcase for modern, innovative product designs and services. Our focus was on lifestyle – fashion, sports, gadgets, health & beauty, transport, holidays, leisure, legal & financial services, medical devices and employment.

PORT-ER RUNNING COACHING CLASS. 8 September 2011. Filmed with Channel 5 (see below).

PORT-ER ON TV! November 2011 Channel 5’s Celebrity Wish List surprising PORT-ER at One Life Live It! Exhibition



AWARD TO PORT-ER: £9,999 was received following an application from PORT-ER to the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund at the end of the previous year for our Raising The Bar project. The project was needed predominantly to help PORT-ER develop a stronger needs-based approach to our work to prioritise our associated activities for persons with disabilities in the UK. The project also delivered improved promotional material about our activities, including this website. We had very limited ability to fund this work independently and this funding award enabled us to progress our work.

We were interested in finding out about development needs for the field of prosthetics and orthotics and so we designed an online market research survey questionnaire. The survey was intended for anyone with an interest in prosthetics and orthotics whether a client using a prosthetic limb, orthotic brace or prescribed footwear, a rehabilitation professional, a disability sports professional or acquaintance. The results of the survey can be seen by clicking on this link. The survey helped us to inform our activities.

PORT-ER International Grant: £1,250 was awarded to the charity 500 miles. The project will support Patrick Govati, from the Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi to attend training in Orthotics manufacture run by ICRC’s special Fund For the Disabled. We have an update that the course has been postponed as the training facilities are under redevelopment, but we hope to hear that it is underway soon. Mr Govati is Malawian and has worked in the field of prosthetics and orthotics for over 18 years. He is Dedicating his life to helping those with disabilities and is directly responsible for treating over 250 patients every year who will benefit from his increased knowledge and skills.

AMPUTEE RUNNING EVENT: May 2012. Practical training for Prosthetists and Physiotherapists. PORT-ER held an event in Exeter for Prosthetists to learn how to align a prosthesis for running (in the morning) and Physiotherapists to learn how to teach running to prosthetic users (in the afternoon). Each profession was welcome to attend the other’s session. The day was practical and the Keynote speakers were Penny Broomhead, MCSP who is a PORT-ER Trustee and Ollie Smith BSc, MBAPO from Ossur.  Feedback from the event included “Great to see how quickly and simply amputees were encouraged to run”. LINK to programme. LINK to practical tips for Sport and High Activity.