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Frank Williams Academy funding initiative launched

A Frank Williams Academy funding initiative has been launched to support and empower people living with spinal cord injuries, as did the legendary and eponymous Formula 1 team boss.

Claire Williams, Williams Deputy Team Principal with her father Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal

The FWA, which has been established by Frank’s daughter and former deputy team principal Claire, is aiming to raise £1.5 million to kickstart its work over three initial years.

This will be aimed at improving the lives of people who have suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury and the organisation is being created in conjunction with the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

The SIA supported Frank Williams following the 1986 car accident that led to his injury and is the official charity of the Williams F1 team, which the Williams family sold to US investment company Dorilton Capital in 2020.

Claire Williams is the SIA vice president – a role she has held since 2016 – and formed the FWA to honour her father’s memory, as well as build on the lessons established during his life working with his spinal cord injury, which included securing 12 of its 16 F1 drivers’ and constructors’ titles after his accident.

The FWA was formally launched at an event in London’s Hoare Memorial Hall by Claire Williams, SIA patron The Princess Royal and SIA CEO Nik Hartley, with current Williams team principal, James Vowles, and its board members Matthew Savage and James Matthews also in attendance.

FWA logos will run on the sides of the FW45 cars raced by current Williams drivers Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant during the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

"My father lived the most extraordinary life, not least as one of the most successful team principals in the history of F1 and doing so from a wheelchair as a tetraplegic for the greater part of it," said Claire Williams.

"His tenacity in the face of this adversity was just one of the many things that made him such an inspiration to many while he was alive.

Launch of the Frank Williams Academy with Claire Williams

Launch of the Frank Williams Academy with Claire Williams

Photo by: Williams

"Following his death, I wanted to do something to continue that legacy, and the Frank Williams Academy couldn't be a more fitting tribute.

"The work that the Academy will do will provide potentially life changing care for spinal cord injured people, just as the SIA did for my dad.

"With that support, the bounds of possibility are endless."

Savage added: "We’re delighted to support the launch of the Frank Williams Academy.

"To honour Sir Frank's life by providing fundamental education, care and support to change the lives of people affected by spinal cord injuries is truly special.

"Everyone at Williams Racing is looking forward to helping the Academy flourish."

Anyone wishing to donate to the FWA can do so here.

It has been launched with four key aims: to provide education and training to spinal cord injured people and medical professionals, to fund new research to drive new and better care, to support for those living with spinal cord injuries, and to raise standards of care on national levels.

Launch of the Frank Williams Academy with Claire Williams

Launch of the Frank Williams Academy with Claire Williams

Photo by: Williams

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