Lawrie McMenemy, MBE gave an inspirational talk to pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school in his role as President of Special Olympics Great Britain in the Winchester school’s performing arts centre.
Special Olympics Great Britain is the country’s largest provider of year-round sports training and competition programmes for children and adults with learning disabilities and the audience were delighted that 3 Special Olympics GB athletes were also able to attend the event: Lizzie Williams, a rhythmic gymnast who is a member of the British Display Team and has travelled all over the world with them, Michael Kennet and Gary Price who both compete in sailing and athletics and went to the World games in Shanghai. They were accompanied by Chris Jones who is Regional Chair of Special Olympics Southern Region.
Lawrie McMenemy is most famously known as the manager of Southampton Football Club during their most successful period in history, guiding his team to FA Cup victory in 1976 against Manchester United. He is also a keen supporter of numerous charities and was appointed Chairman of Special Olympics Great Britain in 2004 and in December 2010, Lawrie became President of the Honorary Board of Special Olympics GB.
After the event, Chris Jones said “The Special Olympics South East Hampshire Group is very grateful to St Swithun’s and its PTA for the opportunity to join Lawrie McMenemy at this event and spread awareness about Special Olympics GB. We are also delighted with the donation of almost £400 made towards the work of the S.E Hampshire group.”
Special Olympics is recognized as the third member of the Olympic family along with the Olympics and Paralympics but it is not just a global event every four years. The Special Olympics Great Britain programme is a year-round sports and competition programme for children and adults with learning disabilities. Day in and day out across England, Scotland and Wales, 8,000 learning disabled athletes’ lives are being transformed through sport. They become more self-confident, improve their fitness, health and wellbeing, and for many, they have for the first time, not only teammates, but mates.
This year is Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens – it is the largest multi-sports event in the world in 2011 with over 185 countries and 7,500 athletes and is the Olympics before the Olympics!
Special Olympics Great Britain is part of the Olympic family, but different as it provides year-round sports training and competitions for all people with learning disabilities rather than a single event for elite (professional) athletes.
This charity is important in the lives of thousands of people with learning disabilities of all ages and abilities right across Great Britain. Special Olympics has proven that sport can transform lives, giving those with learning disabilities and their carers new confidence, hope and belief that they ‘can’. Athletes also improve their social skills and make friends.
Some things you might like to know about Special Olympics Great Britain
- There are around 1.2 million adults and children in the UK with learning disabilities and more than 200 babies with these disabilities are born every week.
- There are 8,000 people with learning disability who currently benefit from the Special Olympics Sports programme.
- Right now Special Olympics has over 130 groups run by over 2,600 volunteers and provides coaching and competition opportunities to 8,000 learning disabled athletes.
- They offer a wide range of sports from cycling to athletics and judo to table tennis and football.
- 157 GB team athletes won 88 medals in the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Athens in June 2011.
Special Olympics GB is working to bring the power of sport into the lives of many more people with learning disabilities, helping them to live their lives to the full. You can help this come true by taking place in the British 10K.
For more information visit the http://www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk/