Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful female Paralympian, has been named Mayor Dan Jarvis’ Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region.
The World Champion cyclist and swimmer has won 14 Paralympic golds, first in swimming and now in cycling. Last month, she claimed two gold medals and one silver in the Para-cycling Track World Championships in the Netherlands, and is now set to take on a new challenge leading the active travel agenda in the Sheffield City Region.
Storey was officially revealed as the new Commissioner at an event held at Sheffield Hallam University today. Her role will involve championing active travel and working alongside Mayor Jarvis to create a region in which more people travel on foot, by bike or by public transport.
She said: “I’m proud and excited to be the first Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region. I believe active travel is a less stressful way of moving about, and helps to create the foundation of a happier workforce and a happier population.
“As someone who’s passionate about active travel, and through my policy work with British Cycling, I’ve been so interested in what Chris Boardman is doing with Andy Burnham over the Pennines. It’s brilliant to have the opportunity to work closely with Mayor Jarvis and his team to do something similar here.
“For me, this is about having another string to my bow, and utilising that profile of elite sport to benefit the wider population. Not everyone is going to be an elite athlete, but we can all enjoy being more active. I’m looking forward to seeing how, together, we can make real changes to the way people travel in the Sheffield City Region.”
Storey was a swimmer at four Paralympic Games before switching to cycling in 2005. During her career she trained and competed at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. Since making the career move to cycling, she added to her five swimming gold medals with a further nine cycling golds at the Paralympics of 2008, 2012 and 2016.
She has also competed against able-bodied athletes riding for England at the Commonwealth Games and won medals at UCI Track Cycling World Cup meetings with the able-bodied squad.
In her new role with the Sheffield City Region, Storey will now work closely with Mayor Jarvis to make his ambitious transport vision a reality.
Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “I’m delighted to name Sarah as our Active Travel Commissioner. To have such an exceptional, inspirational and passionate individual leading our active travel agenda is very exciting. Sarah joins us at an exciting time and will play a crucial role in helping us to make sure that active travel remains an absolute priority as we make our region’s transport network fit for the 21st century.
“By prioritising active travel, we can improve people’s health, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion. But you don’t have to be a professional cyclist – or indeed a gold medal winning cyclist – to travel in a more active way. By making little changes to the way that we travel, we can all do our part to create a healthier and more active society.”
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harringon said: “Through her work as one of British Cycling’s Policy Advocates I know that Dame Sarah is fiercely passionate about making our roads a safer and more welcoming place for people on bikes.
“With her dedication and expertise and Mayor Dan Jarvis’s backing, we have every confidence that the Sheffield City Region of tomorrow will be a healthier, happier and greener place to live, work and play.”
In her new role, Storey will work with organisations such as local authorities, the Passenger Transport Executive, community groups and public health professionals, as well as with national government.
She will also be responsible for leading the active travel agenda across the City Region, including overseeing schemes in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield that received funding from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund earlier this month.
Craig Spence, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said: “Dame Sarah is one of the world’s highest-profile Paralympians who is hugely passionate and dedicated to every activity she gets involved in. Not only will her role see her championing active travel, but also inclusive travel and mobility for all – which are subjects the IPC are deeply passionate about.”