London 2012 heroes help us reach million pound milestone
LOCOG Chairman, Lord Coe KBE, headed a stellar line-up of special guests who gathered at Lord’s Cricket Ground yesterday (23 October) to help celebrate the success of our £1 million Disability Sports Appeal.
During an on-stage interview with journalist Sue Mott, Lord Coe insisted that hosting a successful Olympic & Paralympic Games were just the beginning of the story as he highlighted his ambition to deliver a lasting legacy for years to come.
The Golden Legacy Awards Lunch, sponsored by Channel 4, highlighted the success of our Disability Sports Appeal, which Lord Coe has supported since its inception in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Lord Coe stated, “In the case of The Lord’s Taverners and their Disability Sports Appeal, they have funded and delivered with considerable success a programme to encourage young disabled people to participate in wheelchair sports giving some their first positive experience of sport.
“The Disability Sports Appeal is a shining example of how we can put the structures in place to achieve our goal and enthuse youngsters to regularly compete in sport.”
The Disability Sports Appeal was set up in 2007 by The Lord’s Taverners with the mission of enthusing young people with disabilities to take up sport. Focussed on developing three core sports - wheelchair basketball, boccia and table cricket - the ground-breaking programme changed the face of disability sport and has provided a proven framework for increasing sports participation.
In wheelchair basketball alone, the DSA has brought over 2,500 young people into the sport and seen the emergence of The Lord’s Taverners Junior Wheelchair Basketball League, now the largest in the world. Crucial to the success has also been the development of over 1,300 young people being trained as leaders and officials throughout the three sports. Having achieved a target of raising £1million, the charity will launch a new disability sports programme to continue the momentum post-Paralympics and deliver a lasting Paralympic legacy.
Lord Coe went on to say, “When we were awarded the opportunity to host the Olympics, we said that we would be judged ten years after winning the bid to host the Games. Only fifty per cent of the story has been told and the most exciting part of this is still to come, we have to get it right.
“In 2007 we wanted to stage the world’s largest sporting event but also wanted to challenge young people to try something different and participate in sport.
“This is a God-given opportunity to achieve a lasting legacy and in five years’ time we must look back and say we achieved everything we wanted to.”
The day began with a special minibus presentation to William Morris School from Walthamstow, east London. The vehicle was presented to pupils and staff by EastEnders cast members in memory of the late Wendy Richard, a great supporter of The Lady Taverners for many years. Wendy’s husband, John Burns, handed over the keys to the school pupils before they headed into the nursery pavilion to begin a demonstration of table cricket and boccia.
Representatives of Team GB’s men’s and women’s squads conducted a wheelchair basketball demonstration, with Taverners ambassadors Maddie Thompson, Jude Hamer, Richard Sargeant and Jim Palmer putting the BBC Breakfast crew and guests through their paces.
After lunch Jean Ratcliff was joined on stage by Lord Coe, Sports Minister, Hugh Robinson, and Channel 4 Director of Marketing & Communications, Dan Brooke, to present awards to six special young athletes who have progressed through The Lord’s Taverners Disability Sports Appeal:
• Outstanding Young Leader - Fiona Montgomery
• Outstanding Young Achiever, Table Cricket - Thomas Aldred
• Outstanding Young Achiever, Wheelchair Basketball - Maddie Thompson
• Outstanding Young Achiever, Boccia - Rebecca Morton
• Outstanding Young Athlete - Alfie Hewitt
• Outstanding Inspirational Young Person - Joel Connor-Saunders
Guests were then treated to a golden Q&A as Channel 4 Paralympics presenter, Ade Adepitan, interviewed Team GB 2012 gold medalists Sophie Christiansen (triple equestrian gold), Mickey Bushell (100m sprint gold) and Hannah Cockroft (100m & 200m sprint gold) live on stage.
The final words were reserved for DSA Chairman, Keith Bradshaw, who thanked all of our guests, partners – and Jean Ratcliff in particular for her tireless efforts, drive and determination – before announcing with great pleasure that the appeal had reached its £1 million target for grassroots disability sport.
To view photos of the event please visit our Facebook page.
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