Deaf News: Deaf man with Usher syndrome refused sign language interpreter by gym

Posted on November 22, 2012

The Croydon Guardian has reported how James Clarke, who is Deaf and has Usher syndrome, was refused a sign-language interpreter by Fitness First in Purley, South London.


A deaf Olympic torchbearer was refused a sign-language interpreter for personal training sessions he had paid for at one of the world’s largest gym chains.

James Clarke, 35, has spent six months fighting to make Fitness First pay for an interpreter, which he claims they are obliged to provide under the Equality Act 2010.

Mr Clarke, from Sanderstead,  suffers from Usher syndrome and was born profoundly deaf and partially sighted.

He joined the gym in May and initially attempted to complete the two introductory training sessions, which come with the £34 monthly membership, by communicating with pen and paper.

But he struggled due to his poor eyesight and requested a sign- language interpreter.

Mr Clarke, who in June carried the Olympic torch in Derby, said: “They kept me waiting for six months with emails making unreasonable suggestions, such as to bring a family member or friend.

“I don’t see it being professional and I would lose my independence. They made delaying antics such as saying they will look at the matter and left it for too long.”

After six months, he received an email from Fitness First’s management stating the Purley branch was coming under different ownership and could not help him.

Read the rest of the article here:

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