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Paralympian says: "Sport changed my life" as she opens Commonwealth Games exhibition with Commons Speaker

5 July 2022

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A Paralympian joined the Speaker of the House of Commons to open an exhibition to promote the upcoming Commonwealth Games. 

Georgie Bullen’s Goalball team came sixth in the London 2012 Paralympics after they were knocked out by Sweden in a golden goal at full-time. 

But now the partially-sighted Content Designer, who works in the Parliamentary Digital Service, has high hopes of competing at the Paris Games in 2024. 

Georgie, 28, who has a rare form of Macular Degeneration, says taking up the little-known sport, which is a fast-paced game played with an audible ball, helped her accept her condition. 

Her story and photo are among 20 others from MPs and staff in a special display in Parliament to coincide with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which begin later this month. 

Opening the exhibition, which is encircled by a running track, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Georgie’s account was ‘inspirational, and proof of the power of good that sport can bring. 

"Not only is sport a great way to get active that is good for the mind and the body, but it also brings people, communities and nations together," said the Warrington Wolves, Bolton Wanderers and Lancashire County Cricket Club fan. 

"Hearing how Georgie used the game of Goalball to overcome adversity, but to also achieve Paralympian status, is incredible. 

"I now look forward to reading what sport means to the many other members of our parliamentary village."

Georgie was five-years-old when she was registered blind and "never felt sport was for people like me." 

"But that all changed when I was talent spotted at 14 and fast-tracked on to the GB Women’s Goalball team," she said. 

"Since then, my sporting career has taken me around the world and created some of my proudest moments, including competing in the London 2012 Paralympics. 

"Not many people have heard of our sport, so I am used to playing in front of a few hundred people in a major tournament.  

"But at the Paralympics, we had 7,000 spectators cheering us on – the wall of noise swallowed me up and it was incredible."

The experience also proved to be life-changing in other ways too - as during a break in competing, Georgie met her future partner, Marc Powell, a visually Impaired Paralympic Judo player, when they began chatting in a lift. The couple now live together in Cambridge. 

Georgie, who competes or trains with her Goalball team every other weekend, added: "As you can see, my story is proof that sport really does bring people together." 

The Commonwealth Games exhibition, which runs until 12 August, is the latest incarnation of Mr Speaker’s ‘Roots to Parliament’ initiative, which aims to celebrate the backgrounds and interests of MPs and staff who work in Westminster.