Aylesbury youngsters take part in ‘mini Paralympics’

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A team of disabled Aylesbury schoolchildren have been competing at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, in the Panathlon Challenge – a ‘mini Paralympics’ for children.

Stocklake Park and Pebble Brook schools combined for their first ever Panathlon Challenge, as 136 disabled young people from 11 schools across five counties took part in back-to-back Panathlon competitions, which cater for children with a range of special educational needs.

Alison Burrows, tutor at Stocklake Park, said: “It’s wonderful. Quite often our students don’t get out too far because of various issues, so it’s been nice to come along. It’s been a cracking day.”

The 21-strong Aylesbury team took on teams from South Bucks, Warwickshire and Wellingborough across six rounds of Panathlon sports – played with adaptive equipment to enable more children to take part – and despite finishing fourth, just being able to take part in sporting competition meant the team left in high spirits.

“Even if they haven’t excelled in their chosen category, they’ve all had a great time,” added Alison. “They’ve all got medals, which they don’t often get. It’s fantastic.

“It’s nice for our students to see other students, because you don’t get many events where special schools come together.

“We have a sports society, but it tends to be for the more able students. For my class, this is just ideal. You can see on their faces that they’ve had a cracking time. They’ll be talking about this for weeks.”

Panathlon is a national charity which provides sporting opportunities for over 5,000 disabled young people across the country each year.

The charity currently reaches all 32 London boroughs and 26 counties and continues to grow nationwide, with 30 counties set to be involved by 2017.