Invictus Games 2018 launch - Spencer Bull

A British Army Lieutenant Colonel who served as an officer for 29 years has spoken about how he became involved with the Invictus Games.

Spencer Bull was only medically discharged in December, but will now play a prominent role as vice-captain for Team UK, who'll be vying for medals in Sydney later this year.

He had always enjoyed sport and lived a very active life, but this all changed when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005.

Spencer told Forces News: "It's been difficult. There's been highs and lows.

 

"I always say you get to a point of acceptance. It's a degenerative disease, so it's only going one way.

"I do what I can to keep control and to manage it as best I can [and] sport is one way of doing that.

"I was slightly fed up of being on the sidelines, watching the kids play sport and I thought 'well, what can I do?'"

The Army veteran also spoke about being the highest-ranked competitor to wear the Team GB shirt this year:

"I hadn't thought of that! I am who I am. I'm very proud of what I've done but now I'm a civilian, it's Spencer and that's what I want.

"We're all equal and that's how we want to be treated... If I can take experience of serving in the Army for nearly 30 years to make me a better person that's great, and if I can pass some of that on to others, fantastic."

Spencer had been apprehensive about re-engaging with sport until last year, when he was selected for the Warrior Games.

He now credits sport for making a positive effect on his life, allowing him to manage his condition and make his children proud: 

"All the sports I'm doing... they're things that I can do with the kids as well... [and] they're a huge part of my life.

"The family are there in the quiet hours. Here you've got everyone around... but at two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning... it's the family who are there who are going to pick up the support that's required."

"If I can do something to make them proud, inspire my children, show them that actually, whatever life throws at you, you can do things [then it will all be worthwhile]."

The former Army officer will be taking part in four different disciplines when the Games kick off in Australia in October: athletics, cycling, sailing and swimming.

Prime Minister Theresa May met Team GB's athletes on Tuesday for the first official team photograph and wished them luck for the Games, something Spencer said was "amazing".

And he says his achievement in making the team is beginning to feel real: "It's all starting to slowly sink in."

Spencer will be supported in his leadership role later this year by fellow vice-captain Michelle Turner, who has also shared her story with Forces News.

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