Mark Harding


Mark Harding is a military veteran, athlete, and public speaker.

Born and brought up in Carlisle, Cumbria, he was motivated to follow in the family footsteps and embarked on his military career at the age of 19, joining the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, which later became the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Mark served with distinction throughout his 16-year career in the British Army, embarking on various operations worldwide. It was during an operation against the Taliban in 2010 that he suffered a life-changing injury: he was shot through the neck, and subsequently told he would never walk again. Despite his prognosis, Mark’s determination and resilience led him to defy the odds.

After eight months of paralysis from the neck down, Mark gradually began to regain incremental amounts of feeling and movement – enough to spur him to undertake extensive and sometimes gruelling rehabilitation, undergoing eight hours of physio and physical training every day for years. Through his unwavering perseverance, he defied the doctors’ predictions, progressing from a wheelchair to crutches, and eventually walking with the aid of a walking stick.

Determined never to sit still, Mark followed this extraordinary achievement by turning to kayaking, becoming a member of the GB Paralympic kayak sprint team; and dragon boat racing, representing the UK at the World Championships in China, the European Championships in Prague and Rome. He co-founded the first disabled dragon boat club, Purple Warriors, upon his return to the UK.

Throughout his career, Mark received recognition for his military service and outstanding fundraising efforts, and has been honoured by HM Queen Elizabeth II, HM King Charles III & HM Queen Camilla, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his various contributions. In 2021 alone, Mark was presented with several awards, including the Point of Light Award, the Soldiering On Inspiration Award, and the Spirit of Cumbria Award. He was also recognised with a Pride of Britain Award for the fundraising he undertook during Covid – rowing the equivalent distance of the Atlantic Ocean, 3087 miles in 88 days, to raise funds for the NHS.

Mark’s story is one of triumph over adversity, showcasing his resilience, belief, and positive thinking. Through his experiences, achievements, and unwavering attitude, he serves as an inspiration to others.

Want to purpose power your brand?

Email for more information or call 07952 304340