Jeremy Hunt MP for South West Surrey, officially opened the third Waverley Para Games today with a record number of participants taking part.
The annual event took place at The Charterhouse Club in Godalming, supported by Paralympian Rachel Morris and International Para Dressage Rider Erin Orford.
Over 145 young SEND students (aged 11-14 years) from schools throughout Surrey took part in a variety of sports including cricket, hockey, tennis, new age kurling, swimming, boccia and sitting volleyball.
Jeremy Hunt MP said: “When I think back to London 2012 I was so inspired by the paralympians – their drive, focus and ambition in overcoming incredible obstacles to reach their elite sporting status. I was determined to try in some way to keep their legacy alive beyond the Games.
“Since the Waverley Para Games were launched in 2013, numbers have steadily increased year on year with attendance up by an incredible 30% this year. What’s more, when we look at some of the data we have from research conducted at last year’s event we can see that participation in the Games gives children more confidence and willingness to participate in new sports outside school. It also tackled obesity which as we can see from the budget is a major priority.
“The success of the Waverley Para Games this year has further strengthened the desire for those of us involved, to continue to grow and develop the event into something even bigger - encouraging more young people to engage with sport.
“The event would not have been possible without the generosity of COINS Foundation and the DFN Charitable Foundation. So too the support of Rachel Morris and Erin Orford for their mentoring and encouragement. I must also acknowledge the invaluable contribution that Active Surrey takes in the organisation as well as our first class venue, the Charterhouse Club.”
Larry Sullivan of COINS added: “To have so many more children taking part in this year’s Games is wonderful. I am pleased that the event has established itself and grown into such a significant sporting fixture for young people with a special educational need or disability in Surrey. COINS is delighted to support the Games and will continue to do so in the future.”