MY CLUB • July 2019
An honorary member of the BA100 – the 100 makers of modern Britain as chosen by British Airways – nothing gets in the way of Nancy Harris. An amputee, disability rights campaigner and NHS counsellor who discovered modelling at the age of 50, she tells The Club why ‘no can do’ should never be an option when it comes to travel
What’s been your best recent travel experience?
My partner Steve and I planned an Australian itinerary that was by far my favourite, and most adventurous, as a disabled traveller. In Perth I learned to sail a Hobie Cat in Elizabeth Quay, rode a tandem bike around a 10k course and paddled a kayak on the Swan River. Then we headed to Sydney, where we climbed the Harbour Bridge (pictured below) at twilight, taking in the view of the Opera House and the twinkling cityscape.
Where is on your bucket list?
Cape Town (pictured top of page) – it looks beautiful and has such a rich cultural heritage. I’d like to see the Northern Lights from either Norway or Iceland, too. It would fulfil a childhood dream of mine to see the world’s biggest rainbow.
Favourite London hangout?
There’s nothing better for me than being immersed in theatre and dance, so it’d have to be Red Hedgehog in north London – an independently run small concert and theatre space that features some of the most mesmerising flamenco shows I have ever seen. Also the Peacock Theatre in Holborn. I am so thankful that at last theatre venues are becoming disabled-friendly.
Where would you recommend for a romantic trip?
Paris. Kissing at the top of the Eiffel Tower, watching a Moulin Rouge cabaret show, sitting for a portrait in Montmartre… we did everything couples could dream of. Our most memorable meal was at Le Bouillon Chartier (pictured below), a traditional French restaurant in the heart of the city. Maybe they thought I was some kind of restaurant critic, because we were treated like royalty.
What are your go-to travel hacks for disabled travel?
I have my wheelchair dimensions to hand so I can answer any questions and I always request a seat near to a toilet so that – if I’m without my prosthetic – I don’t have to hop there. I rarely book destinations known for cobbled streets or hills, but most of all I just remember to sit up and smile; if I’m having access difficulties, a smile will often bridge any awkwardness and get results.
Favourite British hotspots?
The north Norfolk coast, which always reminds me of holidays with my children when they were young. We rode over the dunes in jeeps supplied by the Muckleburgh Military Collection, flew kites on windy Weybourne beach and took the steam train from Holt to Sheringham. And my home, Bedfordshire (pictured below), is where you’ll find some of the best English countryside anywhere.
How does it feel to be part of the BA100?
I accepted this accolade on behalf of anyone who has faced a battle in their life and come out the other end with a new perspective. I feel honoured to have been chosen and will take this opportunity to continue to support amputees around the world, get involved with body confidence campaigns and generally fight for diversity, inclusion and representation.
To learn more about British Airways’ commitment to making travel accessible to all travellers, click here