In a wonderful exhibition of competitive sport between 4 highly motivated Essex teams, Harlow, the current champions, successfully defended their crown in the big county final on 1 July. Pitched against Southview in Witham, Oakview from Loughton and Beacon Hill, Thurrock, at the Riverside Sports Centre, Chelmsford, the champions powered through to retain the prestigious title of Essex Panathlon Champions 2010.

They didn’t have it all their own way. Southview and Beacon Hill were right on their heels and in the end couldn’t be separated, finishing joint second. Oakview, appearing in the final for the first time, will have learned from the experience and will be looking to seriously challenge the others in 2010.

The event consists of 6 separate sporting events, including athletics, cricket, kurling and polybat, with over 100 young Essex disabled people taking part in a mini Paralympics final.

Danny Crates, Paralympic Champion and Panathlon charity patron was in attendance to award medals and witness the action. He says: ”I’ve seen some great Panathlon events in the last year and the performances by young disabled athletes has been inspiring. Many thanks from Panathlon to all our sponsors for enabling hundreds of local young disabled people play and enjoy sport.”

The Panathlon Challenge is now in its tenth successful year of delivering sporting opportunities and competitions for young disabled sports people. The event goes ahead with the help of investment from the Jack Petchey Foundation, Essex County Council and Lakeside shopping Centre.

The Jack Petchey Foundation has donated £7,500 towards the Panathlon Challenge in Essex in 2010. The Foundation, based in Ilford, Essex was founded in 1999 and aims to help develop the potential within young people aged 11-25 right across London and Essex. So far, in excess of £60 million has been given to a wide range of organisations and schools. Trudy Kilcullen, Chief Operations Officer for the Foundation said. “We think that this is a fantastic programme benefitting many young people with disabilities who would not otherwise have an opportunity to take part in competitive sport. We are very happy to be supporting Panathlon Challenge again this year”.

The event forms part of Essex County Council’s prestigious ‘Essex Carrying the Flame Framework’ which was launched last summer. It aims to inspire a new generation of children and young people by providing them with opportunities to engage in and represent their school and School Sport Partnership in Olympic and Paralympic related sport and cultural activities. Brian Shaw, Curriculum Coordinator, PE and School Sport, SIEY said “The joy and sense of achievement shown on the faces of all of those athletes was immense. The Final was incredibly exciting and competitive! Everyone should be proud of their performances.”

Panathlon is investing around £30,000 in sports equipment, coaching sessions and multi-sports competitions in Essex during 2010, creating sporting opportunities for disabled youngsters in eight school sport partnership areas.

To find more about Panathlon – visit

• Panathlon Challenge has been delivering competitive opportunities for young disabled Londoners since 1999. It has already invested £250,000 in sports equipment and coaching funds across London, Kent, Essex and other areas since October 2009. Multisport competitions will take place in January through to July 2010. Panathlon will involve around 2,500 disabled young people in competitions during 2010.

• The Jack Petchey Foundation was established in 1999 and gives grants to programmes and projects that benefit young people aged 11-25. The Foundation is eager to help young people take advantage of opportunities and play a full part in society. The Foundation focuses on London and Essex. Since it has been established the Foundation has awarded grants in excess of £60 million.

• Essex Carrying the Flame Framework – The Framework will inspire a new generation of children and young people related to the Olympic theme and support the 2012 legacy. Also contribute to other governing policies, such as increasing attainment, promoting health, safety and well-being of children and young people. Working with partners such as School Sport Partnerships, Competition Managers, 2012 Olympic Legacy Team, Panathlon Challenge, sportessex, and National Governing Bodies of Sport the framework will support Local Area Agreement targets.

• Lakeside Shopping Centre is open from 10am ‘til 10pm weekdays, Saturday 9am – 9pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm. The Boardwalk is a new leisure area at Lakeside Shopping Centre bringing you a host of restaurants, plus a revolutionary new concept, Vue cinema. Lakeside Shopping Centre and the adjoining Retail Park form one of the largest shopping areas in Europe. Over 20% of the UK population live within a 1 hour drive of Lakeside. Lakeside Shopping Centre is part of the Capital Shopping Centres portfolio

• Panathlon Challenge involves the sports of Football, Athletics, Polybat, Table Cricket, Boccia and Kurling and involves disabled children aged between 5 and 19.

• The Panathlon Foundation Charity (1072638) is funded this year by the Jack Petchey Foundation and various trusts and charities.

• Dame Tanni Grey -Thompson, one of the UK’s most distinguished athletes of all time, winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals and holder of 30 world records, and also a strong supporter of the Panathlon Challenge says “Panathlon is striving to give everyone a chance to participate, regardless of ability and that is something I applaud. Good luck to everyone taking part in the Panathlon Challenge this year.”

• Further details about Panathlon Challenge can be obtained from