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7 Mar 2014

Equality Officer Natalie Clark, Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler, Simon Weston OBE, HR Manager Kathryn Leighton. 
Former Royal Welsh Guard Simon Weston OBE, who suffered 46% burns to his body when his troopship was destroyed by Argentinian Skyhawk fighters in the Falklands War in 1982, spoke at the launch of the Festival, whose theme this year is ‘Fighting for a cause’.
 
Following his injuries, Simon’s long and painful road to physical, spiritual and mental recovery has seen him involved in a number of highly successful charitable ventures, as well as being invited to speak at events across the UK.
 
Simon talked about overcoming adversity and the importance of a positive mental attitude as well as his experiences of being in the public eye over the last 30 years.
 
One of the Festival organisers, Kathryn Leighton, HR Manager – Development and Diversity, said: “The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, introduced the event and gave an arresting speech regarding the role of the University in helping to shape society through educating a diverse and diversity minded student body. He celebrated the successes of past festivals and was pleased to launch the ninth annual diversity festival, as an opportunity to innovate and collaborate through generous discussion, inspiring speakers and reflection upon our own identities.
 
Co-organiser, Equality Officer Natalie Clark, added: “Simon was a truly inspirational speaker. Everybody without exception said how much they enjoyed the event, with many saying he was the best speaker we have had at the Diversity Festival in our nine year history. His story, insight and humility was breath-taking, sometimes devastating but ultimately uplifting as he showed how he had overcome adversity to change others’ lives and moved to love the person he is now, alongside the young man that set off to the Falklands.
 
“He went beyond just giving an outstanding speech though, as he graciously spoke to everybody who attended, patiently had photos taken and entered fully into the spirit of the event. I couldn’t recommend him more highly as a speaker - and also as a hugely personable, modest and generous man.”
 
The University’s Diversity Festival continues until March 14 and all events are open to the public. Sessions are free but booking is essential. Visit the Diversity Festival pages for the full Festival programme and booking information.