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hayley church

A Lifeways support worker has been officially recognised as being among the world’s strongest disabled women. Hayley Church, who works at our Pen-Y-Dre supported living service near Swansea, was born with a genetic condition that affects her muscles and joints.

As she grew, instead of letting her disabilities define her, Hayley decided to not only strengthen her muscles, but start competing in strongwoman events.

Yet Hayley doesn’t let her disabilities stop her from reaching her goals.

In the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition, held in June in the town of Eastern Ontario, Canada, Hayley won first place in the Standing Women’s C1 Category. C1 refers to Hayley’s disabilities.

In her category at the competition, Hayley:

• Performed a 120kg deadlift

• Carried a 120kg yoke

• Walked a farmers carry with 50kg dumbells

• Pulled a two-tonne truck

• Carried a 50kg log and shoulder-carried a sandbag weighing up to 45kg.

The June title was just the latest in a series of victories from Hayley, who previously won in the 2020 event, as well as the Arnold Classic Disabled Strongest Woman in the same year.

Watch Hayley being interviewed at the 2022 event (Youtube link).

‘So excited’

Before setting off to Canada to compete in June, Hayley also took part in a BBC documentary about how people overcome their disabilities. Individuals Hayley supports at the Swansea service took part. The documentary, Our Lives, will be aired on BBC2 on 22 August.

“The people I support are always so excited to see how I do in competitions,” says Hayley. When she’s not winning at strongwoman events, Hayley puts her knowledge to use on the job.

“I find strength sports and training helps my work with people we support by providing more positive encouragement to stay healthy and active despite having a disability,” says Hayley.

“I use my knowledge to help people we support with everything from nutrition and health living to putting muscle mass on and active rehabilitation.”

What an inspiring story, Hayley!


About Lifeways:

Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community.

As the supported living sector’s largest team of professionals, Lifeways’ extensive experience and national reach mean we deliver extraordinary support to adults, enabling them to live fulfilling and independent lives in the community. 

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