Lay member profile
Director of Sport, British Paralympic Association
Penny has a BA Combined Hons in Phys Ed / History (University of Birmingham) and a PGCE from Loughborough University.
Penny has more than 30 years’ experience in elite sport as an athlete, coach, manager and director. Before becoming a full time professional in sport, Penny taught for seven years in secondary and further education. Having coached as a volunteer for a number of years, Penny’s first professional coaching role was as Assistant Olympic Coach for British Canoeing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She went on to become Senior National Coach for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games before moving in to Para sport as the first ever Performance Manager for the British Paralympic Association in 2001. In 2002 she become Director of Sport at the association, a role she still holds.
In 2014, Penny led the ParalympicsGB team for the first time as Chef de Mission at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, she subsequently went on to lead the team to continued success in Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and in Tokyo 2020. She will next lead ParalympicsGB as its Chef de Mission at the Paris 2024 Summer Paralympic Games. Penny is passionate about creating positive performance environments where athletes and their support teams can thrive and Paris will be Penny’s 13th global Games supporting British athletes to Olympic & Paralympic success. Penny’s Paralympic Games experience has been recognised by the International Paralympic Committee where she has been a member of their National Paralympic Committees’ Expert Group since 2017. At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games she was shorted listed for ‘Official of the Games’ award.
Penny was awarded an MBE for Services to Sport in 2013 and an OBE in 2017.
In 2021 Penny was awarded the JL Manning Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award at the British Sports Journalism Awards. Other awards include:
- Honorary Doctorate, Loughborough University (2017)
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Birmingham (2022)
- Loughborough Sport Hall of Fame (2022)