Spencer served as an officer for 29 years in the Army where he completed several tours of Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kuwait. Tragedy struck in 2005 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and by 2011 Spencer was struggling to walk.
As his health has degenerated, he is now a full-time wheelchair user and was medically discharged from the military in 2017.
He said: “‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul’ is my mantra. Sports recovery has inspired, enabled and empowered me to achieve and manage my condition.”
The former Lieutenant Colonel credits sport for making a positive effect on his life: “It gives me the chance to manage my condition and make my children proud of what their father has achieved. I want to inspire them.”
As Joint Vice-Captain of the Team UK at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, Spencer is passionate about what the Games represent.
He explained: “I don’t think we should focus on medals. That’s not what it is all about. You work towards your personal best and if you achieve that, it is fantastic. If there has been a theme at the Games, it was very much friends and family – a way of saying 'thank you’. Over the past two years I have seen the importance of having a trusted veteran community and how individuals can provide essential peer-to-peer support. Working as a team we can achieve.
“A key aspect of the Games is overcoming adversity. It is about normal people doing extraordinary things. There is more to learn (especially living with a degenerative illness), enabling me to be informed and putting me in a better position to help others including the next generation, such as school children and that will go a long way to complete my recovery journey.
“The benefits of helping others is huge; resilience, living with a disability, general life skills or as a mentor. This is how I see my Invictus journey – initiated through the Games.”
"The Covid years have been tough on many levels, but also an opportunity to explore new ways of managing the changes forced upon us. It has strengthened relationships within my family, and made us re-prioritise the key things in life and adapt to new ways of living, including fitness which has been helped by our new addition to the family; Lola, our black Labrador."