Help for Heroes beneficiary and three-times silver medal winner at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jon-Allan Butterworth, 28, is competing in the second series of Channel 4’s celebrity show ‘The Jump’.
Coming to Channel 4 in early February, viewers will see track cyclist Butterworth, who lives in Manchester, take on some of the most challenging winter sports, using his experiences in the RAF and as an athlete to ensure he is a leading contender to be crowned champion of ‘The Jump’ 2015.
It was through the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme that Jon-Allan’s cycling talents were first spotted. Jon-Allan was severely injured while serving with the RAF as a weapons technician in Iraq in August 2007. He was involved in a rocket attack on Basra Air station and lost his left arm above the elbow as a result.
Less than 10 months after his injury, Jon-Allan took part in the Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride, cycling 350 miles around the battlefields of Northern France. Help for Heroes later paid for him to attend a military Paralympic sports camp in San Diego in August 2008 where the British Cycling team’s interest in his talent was cemented.
Jon-Allan is now a leading British talent in sprint and endurance track cycling. As well as winning silver in the team sprint, 1km time trial and 4km individual pursuit at London’s 2012 Paralympic Games, Butterworth set a new world record in 2013 in the 200m time trial in his classification, C5.
Jon-Allan said: “I wanted to try all these amazing winter sports, to be the first above elbow amputee to do bobsleigh and skeleton and to inspire other injured veterans out there. My aim is also to use the show to get fit after an operation that I had in September to enable me to return to cycling with a base level of fitness and a good weight to work with.”
For the duration of the programme Butterworth will live and train with the 15 other celebrities taking part, including dancer Louie Spence, Made in Chelsea’s Louise Thompson and England Cricketer Phil Tufnell.
Louise Watson, Sports Recovery Manager at Help for Heroes who also spent time with Jon-Allan in Austria, training him in the skeleton & bobsleigh events, said: “It’s great to see Jon-Allan pushing his limits and giving something new a go. From getting on a bike in 2008 for the first Help for Heroes bike ride, to winning three silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jon-Allan demonstrates that there is definitely life beyond injury. Since 2008, Help for heroes has supported veterans to try something new and we’d encourage anyone else in the same position to get in touch.”