Brian Dickinson Obituary, Death – The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) mourns the death of Brian Dickinson MBE, former International Secretary of IWAS Wheelchair Fencing and seven-time Paralympic medallist. Dickinson began racing in wheelchairs after relocating to Blackpool, England, in 1957. On his 21st birthday, he was paralyzed following a procedure to remove a cyst on his spinal cord. Dickinson received treatment in Southport and began participating in sports, including visiting events at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Between 1964 and 1992, Dickinson won seven Paralympic medals. Dickinson took bronze in men’s team epee and two gold medals in swimming at the first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964.
He competed in swimming and wheelchair fencing in Tel Aviv in 1968, adding wheelchair basketball to his record and maintaining his men’s team epee bronze from four years earlier. Dickinson’s influence extended beyond the playing field in 1984, when he helped organize the Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville when the United States withdrew as hosts. He also added to his trophy cabinet an individual bronze medal in men’s sabre class 2-3, as well as a medal in men’s team sabre. Dickinson returned to the podium in 1992, taking bronze in men’s team sabre. Dickinson was the General Secretary of the International Wheelchair Fencing Committee, a forerunner to IWAS Wheelchair Fencing, from 1994 until 2005. He was also a member of the International Competitions Directoire Technique and President of the British Disabled Fencing Association, which staged the European Championships in 1994 in his hometown of Blackpool.
Dickinson received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2014 for services to sport. He carried the Paralympic Torch relay in London in 2012, giving tribute to his impact over the last five decades. Dickinson has been credited with the success of many noteworthy athletes, both on and off the field, including current IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Chairperson Pal Szekeres. “Brian’s impact on wheelchair fencing over the last 50 years cannot be overstated.” His influence has benefited everyone involved in sports today, including athletes, coaches, and officials. He was a superb fencer, a fantastic sports leader and teacher, and a fantastic guy and friend. “He cherished his wonderful wife [Val],” Szekeres remarked. “Only seven months after my accident, I competed in the European Championships in Malle, Belgium.” Brian was quite helpful, yet he still beat me in epee.
“He was wise and cooperative in his support for Poland’s inaugural IWAS Wheelchair Fencing competition while we were in Warsaw for the site inspection.” “He was like a walking history book, always smiling and never furious.” In 1995, he organized the best European Championships ever held in Blackpool. He helped Laszlo Jakab coach David Heaton. Unfortunately, both have died. They can reunite in paradise on the piste. “Brian, I’ll never forget you!”
Caz Walton OBE, Dickinson’s lifelong friend and former manager of the British wheelchair fencing team, said, “Brian was a fantastic, brilliant fencer who put so much more into disability fencing than he ever took out.” He owes a lot to wheelchair fencing, both regionally and globally. He made an important contribution to the sport, and his death will be missed sincerely.” The IWAS and IWAS Wheelchair Fencing communities express their heartfelt sympathies to Dickinson’s family and friends at this sad time.