Pride of Swindon plaque unveiled in the Library

Today was the unveiling of the Pride of Swindon plaque in The Swindon Central Library. The small event was hosted by Shirley Ludford of Swindon 105.5 radio.

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Peter Duncan and the cast of Birdsong at the Wyvern and the Cenotaph

I was lucky enough to photograph and meet the cast of Birdsong (as show based on the book by Sebastian Faulks) which included Peter Duncan, Jonny Clarke and George Banks. They were in costume, uniforms from the First World War which was quite strange when we were taking photos at the Cenotaph in the Swindon Town Centre. The cast also met Tom Stimpson MBE the representative and ambassador for Help for Heroes charity. Firstly I had a really good chat with Peter Duncan. The last time I spoke to him was at around mile 20 of the first London Marathon which we both ran. I also had a really good chat with Tom Stimpson MBE. Tom is ex RAF as am I but Tom was unfortunately injured in Afghanistan and has suffered from PTSD and now campaigns on behalf of Help for Heroes and other mental disability charities.

All in all a very interesting couple of hours.

Swindon demonstrates against government use of ATOS

There was a small demo outside of the Swindon Job Centre on the morning of the 19th Feb, against the government’s use of ATOS, the company commissioned to vet benefits applications of sick and disabled people signed off by their DR’s It was part of a nationwide protest.

Simon Weston and Mike Penning at Swindon Disability Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Simon Weston Falklands War Veteran and disability campaigner. Along with Mike Penning Minister of State for Disabled People at the Swindon SEQOL Disability Confident Conference held at the Steam Museum. Both really nice guys to talk to, in fact everybody there was a pleasure to work with and talk to.

Royal Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony

Crowds gathered in the pouring rain to remember the brave servicemen and women who fought and died in the Afghanistan conflict at a service at The Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett today.

Some 46,000 crosses have been planted within the walled garden in Lydiard Park in Remembrance to the 446 Service people that have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2001. A number of civic dignitaries, guests, members of the Armed Forces and school children planted crosses during the service.

For me the most poignant of all was young Emma Hickman and her baby daughter. Emma was the fiancee of Private Daniel Wade who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

Parkinson’s Awareness Week Flash Mob in Swindon

Despite heavy showers interspersed with bright sunshine a hardy bunch of supporters of The Parkinson’s Awareness Week were out in the centre of Swindon this lunch time performing a flash mob. The performers and collectors stood perfectly still for several minutes in both Wharf Green and Regent Street. All in aid of raising the awareness of Parkinson’s disease, something that could possibly affect any one of us.

Swindon Disability Access Day a huge success

Swindon Borough Council’s Access Day hailed a great success.
Over 20 local Swindon schools, with 160 children, attended the Swindon Borough Council’s Leisure Services Access Day last week, which was run in conjunction with the Borough’s Advisory Teachers.
Taking place at the Link Centre in West Swindon, Children with a wide range of disabilities were encouraged to have a go at a number of activities which were run by SBC’s Leisure staff and local clubs.
Croquet (Swindon Croquet Club), Fencing (Swindon Fencing Club), Wheelchair Basketball (Swindon Shock), Wheelchair Rugby (Swindon St George), Football (STFC Football in the Community), Dance (Swindon Dance), Martial Arts (Success Martial Arts), Swimming (Swindon Dolphins & ASA), Climbing, Boccia, Trampolining and Ice Skating were just a few activities on offer to the children throughout the day.
Louise Hunt, London 2012 Paralympian Tennis player was also in attendance to support the day and speak to the children, “It’s wonderful to see so many children trying different sporting activities from across the Borough. Sport is one activity that can bring a group of individuals together whatever their ability, age or gender.”
Mike Swann Climbing Wall Manager at the Ridge mentioned “it was really hard work but the best day of the year!”
John Airey from Swindon Croquet Club commented “the event was well organised with plenty of help for the children at each activity from the students from New College. It was felt by one school that the sport of croquet could be of benefit to their SRP group and inquired if Swindon Croquet Club could help with the special equipment that they had developed”.
Tony Ellis, Coach of the Swindon St George Wheelchair Tag Rugby League Club commented “we got the day off to a really good start, the youngsters were queuing up for chairs; to have a go at Wheelchair Rugby. We played at 100 Smiles per hour, great fun, for the coaches and the participants”.
The day was organised by Doug Imrie, Coaching Coordinator for the Leisure Services Team with support from Emma Waters and Sheila Hanson from the Schools Advisory Team to engage children from across Swindon in activities which they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try.
The day was funded by Aiming High along with funding from Project Ability and the Amateur Swimming Association. It’s only with this funding support that opportunities like this can be offered to the children of Swindon.
Over 35 New College student volunteers were coordinated by Sue Harrison to help the students gain experience of working with children with Special Needs and although there were a few nervous faces at the start, each enjoyed the day.
Coaching Coordinator Doug Imrie said ,“after the huge success of the London 2012 Paralympics this was perfect timing to offer the children of Swindon the opportunity to work with local clubs and try activities they may not have even seen or tried before. It was great to have Louise Hunt here supporting the day and meeting the children as well to add to the excitement of the day.”
For more information please follow: Twitter: AbilitySportSN or Facebook: Disability Sport Swindon