A 48-YEAR-OLD Trowbridge man, who was motivated to learn marital arts after becoming the victim of an unprovoked attack 22 years ago, scooped two awards at the first ever Wiltshire Health & Wellbeing ceremony this week.

The awards, which were held at the Corn Exchange in Devizes on Wednesday and are nominated for by the public, are designed to celebrate individuals, groups and organisations making a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of people living and working in Wiltshire.

Andy Wright, who was born with cerebral palsy, and was in a wheelchair until the age of 9nine, picked up the Liquid Media Award for outstanding contribution to improved health and wellbeing, as well as the overall Health & Wellbeing award.

The tai chi and karate instructor, who currently teaches in Westbury, Trowbridge, Warminster and Melksham, said an attack he suffered in 1987 was his inspiration to prove to himself that his own disability would not restrict his life. He said: “I was pulled from my vehicle by a guy who had been drinking all day and he beat me up. After the attack I fell into depression and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was anxious and afraid.

“I took up karate when my cousin said to me ‘you can’t sit there all day worrying all day why don’t you learn something to defend yourself?’.

“It put me on the right path but at the time I didn’t realise the relevance of it.

Mr Wright, who also teaches a self-developed healing art form called Zenchi, as well as taking voluntary sessions for a drugs and homelessness initiative in Bath, added: “I’m just getting used to the idea of being an award winner. It’s quite rewarding to know I’m appreciated.

“I know that a lot of my students nominated me and some of them have disabilities which makes my work even more gratifying. I can’t really explain how it feels to win such an award.”

The awards were organised by Wiltshire County Council.