More than 40 disabled children took part in a hard-fought “mini Paralympics” day at Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre in Durham as the second Durham County Panathlon, saw a new winner.

King James 1 Academy from Bishop Auckland were crowned the champions, with a score of 54 points, narrowly pipping Durham Trinity School who came in second on 52 points, and the Oaks School in Durham in third with 40 points.

King James’s captain 15 year old Andrew Dowesy said, “I feel great, the school’s first trophy, it was a big surprise but we are Champions”.

Mrs. Barlow, the teacher in charge at King James said: “We love how inclusive this competition is.

“We can bring so many children of different abilities, it is an amazing day for the school.”

“It’s very well organized and relaxed and the team leaders did a great job. It’s good to be the winners, too.”

Emma Hull, 11 of King James School said, “It has been the best day I can remember as part of the school, I can’t believe we have won!”

The days outstanding performer however was Durham Trinity’s Matthew Ferguson, whose performance in the Precision Bean Bag was a full house, not once but all 3 times he threw, the perfect 56 maximum score.

Durham leadersTwelve leaders from Durham 6th Form College (pictured left) helped the youngsters compete in various sporting challenges with adaptive equipment.

Michelle Wardle, a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant from Durham Oaks School, said the competition had opened many opportunities for the youngsters involved.

“It’s nice for them to mix with kids from other schools and to learn different sports. We also get ideas for different sports to run in our clubs at school,” she said. “Most of all, they absolutely love taking part. They came into school today so excited, all kitted up and raring to go.”

Jane Young, the ‘Inclusive lead’ in Durham and the Durham Trinity lead said, “It’s great to have seen these schools come together. It has proved an enormous success. We as Durham are on an exciting journey with Panathlon and very much looking forward in the future further expanding the work we do together.”

Tony Waymouth, COO of Panathlon said, “When Durham first took part we took baby steps, we are now galloping ahead at a full rate of knots and the County has certainly taken Panathlon to heart.”

St James Place