Clevedon garden design company backs disabled driver on Le Mans dream

Paragon Gardens, a garden design and build company based in Clevedon, has pledged its support of a man from Nailsea near Bristol, who is looking to make history with motorsport’s most inspirational team.

35-year-old James Russell is a rookie driver with Team BRIT – a motor racing team looking to become the first ever all-disabled team to race in Le Mans.

Paragon has become James’ first personal sponsor and will provide him with essential support to help him meet the costs of training and racing with the team all over the country.

The team competed in the Fun Cup last year. James joined in September and raced with the team at Oulton Park in October.  James and the team will compete in the championship once again from this April and will be entering GT racing soon.

Originally from Bristol, and having grown up in Clevedon, James lives with his wife Charlotte and two children.  James was born with a congenital defect to his right lower leg, missing the fibula bone and the remaining tibia being angulated. This resulted in him having a short lower leg and an incomplete ankle.  James underwent surgery when twelve months old to straighten the leg out, and now wears a prosthetic leg. James also has a finger missing from his right hand and a mal-rotation of the bowels, again as a result of his congenital defect. 

James works as a technical author in the oil and gas industry, having previously worked in aerospace and defence, including on a number of military projects. 

Team BRIT has developed the world’s most advanced hand control technology to allow its drivers to compete on equal terms with able-bodied competitors.  These controls are specially adapted for each driver, allowing drivers with varying disabilities, such as James who has a prosthetic, and double-leg amputee Ash Hall, to race as part of the same team.

James said, “I’m so grateful to Paragon for choosing to back me this year.  I’m a previous customer of theirs, as they carried out some work on my property a couple of years ago, so I had told them all about my ambitions with the team.

“Their support will help me to attend the necessary training and coaching sessions, and to get to races that take places at top race circuits all over the country.

“Sponsors such as Paragon are helping the drivers and the team to show people what is possible for disabled people to achieve. With their support, we are inspiring disabled people to believe that anything is possible.”

Dave Kirk from Paragon Gardens said: “I have known James and Charlotte for many years and have played rugby against him on several occasions. I was always massively impressed with his capability as a rugby player, playing and regularly being better than his able-bodied counterparts. He is a lot quicker than me! We jumped at the opportunity to support him and wish him all the best for the rest of the race season.

Further information on Paragon Gardens is available at www.paragongardens.co.uk.