More than 300 people take part in RAF Mildenhall’s annual Joan Mann Specials Sports Day

US Air Force Col Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander, right, poses for a photogr

US Air Force Col Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander, right, poses for a photograph with athlete Neil Draper, and volunteer and Iris Weimer, during the closing ceremony of the 36th annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day at RAF Mildenhall. Picture: Senior Airman Christine Groening - Credit: Senior Airman Christine Groening

More than 300 special needs athletes took part in a sporting event hosted by RAF Mildenhall.

Athletes at the 36th annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day event race against each other in the 100-ya

Athletes at the 36th annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day event race against each other in the 100-yard dash at RAF Mildenhall. Picture: Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper - Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1

The Joan Mann Special Sports Day was started by former MoD employee Joan Mann who worked in public affairs at the Suffolk base.

She conceived the event as a way to offer those with special needs a day of fun and to bring the civilian and military communities closer together.

The event opened with the lighting of an Olympic torch and a parade of athletes and ended with a medal presentation.

The athletes took part in 12 sporting events, including bowling and a 50-yard wheelchair dash. More than 600 volunteers and US airmen from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell helped at the event.

Athletes aim for gold at the Joan Mann Special Sports Day. Picture: Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper

Athletes aim for gold at the Joan Mann Special Sports Day. Picture: Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper - Credit: Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper


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Neil Draper was recognized by Col Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander, for being the only athlete to have participated in all 36 of the events.

US Air Force Co. Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, volunteer Iris Weimer, and

US Air Force Co. Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, volunteer Iris Weimer, and Neil Draper, perform the cake cutting ceremony for the 36th Annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day at RAF Mildenhall. Picture: Senior Airman Christine Groening - Credit: Senior Airman Christine Groening

An athlete and her escort race against one another during 100-yard race at the Joan Mann Special Spo

An athlete and her escort race against one another during 100-yard race at the Joan Mann Special Sports Day. Picture: Senior Airman Christine Groening - Credit: Senior Airman Christine Groening

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Clements embraces one of the winning athletes during the awards ceremo

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Clements embraces one of the winning athletes during the awards ceremony for Joan Mann Specials Sports Day at RAF Mildenhall. Picture: Senior Airman Christine Groening - Credit: Senior Airman Christine Groening

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