GEORGIA PILKINGTON

Georgia started Climbing aged 7 at a local climbing centre in South Molton in North Devon and started wearing hearing aids aged 9. At 14 she joined Mikey Cleverdon's High Performance Climbing Squad at The Quay Climbing Centre, Exeter. Competed in BRYCS and other local competitions including DWS in Exeter and, if able, will compete this year on August 27th.

Georgia Pilkington Para Climber

At the age of 16 Georgia competed in BMC Para Climbing Series for the Hearing Impaired category, won all three rounds. She has competed for the last 2 years and is British Deaf Climbing Champion. Together with Suzi Rees, another deaf climber, she has set up 'Deaf Climbing UK' which is a charity designed to promote 'Inclusive Climbing' for Deaf Climbers generating awareness within climbing centres on the needs of deaf climbers and offering training, BSL training cards and taster sessions at participating centres for deaf people to have a go at climbing.

Last August Georgia was formally diagnosed with Autism. Georgia struggles hugely with social anxiety and other sensory issues, together with her deafness, has struggled with bullying and exclusion from her peers, at school especially. Georgia has found solace and purpose in her climbing and this is her main focus in life. She has found the climbing community to be fun, welcoming and inclusive. When she climbs she is transported!

She is currently at Exeter College studying for her A-Levels in Geography, Geology and Law. She is also part of the College's Elite Sports Persons Training Programme. Georgia plans to study Oceanography at Plymouth University next year.

This August Georgia will fly to Switzerland to climb The Matterhorn to help raise awareness of Autism in Climbing. The project 'Autism At Height' will include another autistic climber, Jamie Owen (27), Mark McGowan (BMC GB Paraclimbing Team Manager) and Willis Morris (Climber and Camera Man).

Together, with Autism At Height and Deaf Climbing UK, Georgia hopes to lobby the IFSC (International Federation of Sports Climbing) to include Deaf and Autistic categories in their International Para Climbing Competitions. The BMC, as well as other countries have these categories in their national competitions.

Georgia will compete on September 3rd in Ratho, Edinburgh, in the first round of the BMC Paraclimbing Series 2016.

What ever the future may hold for Georgia, climbing and her mission to make Autism and Deafness more accepted as mainstream is what drives her. She also wants to compete in the 2020 Para Olympics!