A young wheelchair tennis star currently studying Psychology at Cardiff
Met, will be recognised for her voluntary work in sport by receiving the
Inspiring Young Person accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018.
Caernarfon teenager Fran Smith has put in hundreds of volunteer hours
despite her struggle with chronic fatigue and other health issues.
Fran, 19, is well respected in the world of disability sport, including
wheelchair basketball, tennis and boccia.
She will receive her accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018, held at
the Celtic Manor on December 4.
Volunteering is a family affair and Fran credits her caring nature to her
mum, Deb Bashford, a wheelchair user herself and passionate sports
“She’s taught me so much in life” explained Fran, whose mum also won a
Volunteer Award at the Wales Sport Awards two years ago.
She added: “When you grow up with a severely disabled mother who never lets
anything stop her, you think why should I let anything stop me?”
The mother and daughter duo often spend time together helping at Caernarfon
Celts wheelchair basketball club in their Gwynedd hometown.
Her proud mum added: “I encouraged Fran to get involved, but she took it to
the next level.
“At just 19 years old, she has gone above and beyond what I could have ever
imagined. It is mind blowing. I am so proud of her.”
A few years back, inspiring teen Fran said she “hit rock bottom” in her
life, but volunteering and competing in wheelchair tennis helped her through
She explained: “I didn’t know what to do with my life and I never want
other people to feel the way I did when I was at my lowest point.”
Coach, volunteer and mentor Fran proudly sits on the Disability Sport Wales
Youth Board to help inspire others.
According to Gwynedd Disability Sport Wales Officer Marcus Politis, she has
“maturity way beyond her years.”
He said: “Fran is a stand-out volunteer and with her commitment to local,
regional and national projects, she has developed into a model professional.”
Dan Heggs, Head of Department and Principal Lecturer in Psychology at
Cardiff Met added: “We are delighted that Fran has been recognised for the
fantastic attitude she displays day-to-day and the time she gives to
volunteering and ultimately enthusing others to engage with sport.
“She is a very inspiring individual and I’m confident that she has a
successful future ahead of her.”
Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have an exceptional
standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening
in grassroots sport.
“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help
motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it
For more information about this year’s event, visit www.walessportawards.co.uk
or follow #WSA2018
To read this story in Welsh, click here.