In July 2018 Theo became FAI European Paragliding Champion at the age of 19. The competition at Montalegre, Portugal, had been contested by a very strong field. Three weeks later he became British Champion at the British Open at Krushevo, Macedonia.
In 2013 the minimum age for qualifying to fly a paraglider was reduced from 16 to 14. In April that year, four days after his 14th birthday, Theo began his training at Airways Airsports. By July he’d qualified on the winch, and the following month completed a hill conversion with Judy Leden MBE, former world women’s paragliding and hang gliding champion.
Completing his training in such a short space of time meant dedicating every flyable weekend. His determination to train on his own terms meant finding part-time employment — delivering papers and subsequently as a waiter — to repay his training. He also displayed a very high level of innate skill. Despite Judy’s advice to keep a low profile, by the end of his first full year of flying he was invited to become a Nova Team pilot. He was also awarded Best Newcomer by his local club.
Writing about his win in Portugal for Ozone, the manufacturer of paraglider that he flies, Theo commented: “Over the last five years so much has changed — from starting off in the Airways Airsports tow field as a 14-year-old with average school grades and questionable prospects, to taking part in a Category 1 comp and winning. I feel like paragliding has given me the opportunity to mature and grow in ways I previously thought weren’t possible."