PARALYMPIC HOPEFUL AMAZED BY RESPONSE TO KIT THEFT
5th November 2017
Last modified on March 4th, 2020
Snowboarder James Barnes-Miller is hoping to be at the Pyeongchang Games but has had £10,000 worth of equipment stolen.
James Barnes-Miller had the custom-made snowboards, boots and clothing stolen from his van while it was parked overnight outside his home in Disley, Cheshire.
Speaking to PlanetSKI, he said he’s amazed by the generosity of people who have so far responded to his appeal for help.
“It’s been amazing, incredible,” he told us.
“The snowsport industry in the UK, the ski and snowboard family, is quite small anyway and it does feel as if everyone is coming together to help me out.”
- A fund-raising page has reached more than £3,000 since news of the theft broke
- Barnes-Miller’s local indoor slope, the Chill Factore, is putting on a freestyle fundraiser for him this Thursday
- The XScape chain has said it will raise funds
- Locals in his original home county of Kent are laying on a fundraiser in a pub
- His former boss has offered to buy him a replacement for one of his boards
- Retailers have promised to send him new clothing
Barnes-Miller leaves on Saturday to compete in his first World Cup event of the season – a banked slalom in Landgraaf in the Netherlands.
He hopes to have his replacement kit ready for then, as long as it arrives in the post.
“The rest of the team have said they will all help me out with bits and bobs if it doesn’t turn up ,” he told us, “but I am pretty hopeful it’s all going to turn up.
UPDATED: On Friday, we heard that he’s managed to replace almost everything.
Barnes-Miller, who was born without a right hand, competes in snowboard cross and banked slalom events.
In snowboard cross he came fourth at last season’s World Championships.
He has two World Cup silver medals to his name.
The theft took place overnight on 28th/29th October.
“I’d been away for five weeks – I’d been in Switzerland training and then Austria,” he told PlanetSKI.
“I came back and had media training at Paralympics headquarters and then went to the Ski and Snowboard Show in London and drove back up Saturday night.
“I got back late, about 11 pm. I woke up in the morning to find out they’d taken everything.
“Normally I don’t leave anything in the van but because it was late I thought, I’ll do it in the morning.”
Barnes-Miller says there were two other break-ins in the area and he doesn’t think he was targeted.
The thieves will, in any event, find it difficult to sell the specialist gear.
“They’re custom-made race boards,” Barnes-Miller said.
“There’s no torsional flex in them. The standard snowboarder wouldn’t really know how to ride them.”
He had two customised boards stolen, a black and white Apex and a black Oxess, as well as gloves, goggles, thermals, boots, a helmet, and race timing equipment itself worth around £3,000.
Another snowboard, a Nitro Woodcutter belonging to his coach, was also taken.
The clothing taken includes branded Team GB gear so will be easy to spot on someone who’s not entitled to wear it.
“Going to the Paralympics would be an honour and something I never thought I’d do.
“We would be the first team from Britain to compete at snowboarding, which would be a privilege,” Barnes-Miller said.
The snowboarder had earlier started a crowd-funding initiative to try to raise the money to help fund his training and attempt to go to the Paralympics.
“Thank you so much for the support, the crowd funding pages have been going mad thank you so much!” he said.