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All smiles at disabled sporting event for 450 children from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

07:02 12 June 2014

The Presidents Sporting club/ Essex Disabled Sports Foundation holds a sports experience day in Thetford.

The Presidents Sporting club/ Essex Disabled Sports Foundation holds a sports experience day in Thetford.

Archant norfolk

More than 450 disabled children have been benefiting from the power of sport at a special event designed to help their self-confidence and physical development.

The Presidents Sporting club/ Essex Disabled Sports Foundation holds a sports experience day in Thetford.The Presidents Sporting club/ Essex Disabled Sports Foundation holds a sports experience day in Thetford.

Breckland Leisure Centre, in Thetford, welcomed children from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the President’s Sporting Club’s Sports Experience Day yesterday.

Children were given a chance to try 24 different sports including trampolining, ju-jitsu, bowls, basketball and football.

Mike Jackson MBE, chairman and founder of President’s Sporting Club, said the impact of the day still made him emotional after 30 years.

“It’s a way of giving them a chance to try sports that they would never normally get to try, but also to get contact with quality coaches who can help them break through the usual barriers.

“The kids love it as well. Seeing their smiles and the way they enjoy it, it does still get to me, even after all these years,” he said.

Schools taking part included Churchill Park in King’s Lynn, Eaton Hall in Norwich, Fred Nicholson in Dereham, Highfield in Ely, and Chapel Road in Attleborough.

Clare Mullett, a teacher at Chapel Road, said the children “absolutely love” the event.

All of them, from the most profoundly disabled to the more able, get something out of it. They love it and they are so enthusiastic when they get back to school and get a chance to look through the pictures,” she said.

Ian Shorten, a teaching assistant from Harford Manor School in Norwich, said: “They very much enjoy it and it’s also a chance for them to socialise and access the community.”

As well as coaching from US Airmen from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath, the event was also supported by former Norwich City striker Tony Cottee and Grand National-winning jockey, Bob Champion.

Mr Cottee said he had found the event “humbling”.

“For me, if I can go around here and see a smile from one child, it makes it all worthwhile.

“But there’s also the physical side of it, where the children are having the chance to get involved in sport.

“I’ve got three children myself and to come here and see the disabilities these children have, I’ve got nothing but admiration for them and the teachers that are here,” he said.

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