Passengers travelling through Stansted today were treated to a festival of Paralympic sport as the airport joined forces with local schools and its charity partner to mark 100 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Harlow judo star, Faith Pitman, along with youngsters from Witham’s Southview School , Braintree’s Edith Borthwick School and Thurrock’s Beacon Hill were cheered on by passengers and staff as they showcased the sports of Boccia, Kurling and Polybat in the terminal.
The event, which was organised by Stansted-based Panathlon Challenge, the airport’s charity partner of the year, was arranged to raise awareness of how sports can be enjoyed by disabled youngsters,.
“With the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games fast approaching, what better way to maximise the sporting legacy of the Games than getting our local young people involved in sport,” said Marcella M’Rabety, Stansted’s corporate social responsibility manager.
“Today’s event created a sense of fun and excitement for both our staff and passengers, while at the same time promoting our charity partner and giving local disabled school children a great experience playing their sport in front of cheering airport passengers,” Marcella added.
Seven London Stansted staff volunteers – who trained as referees on May 20 – were officiating at the event. Claire Perry, Stansted Airport’s Olympic Co-ordinator, who was one of the volunteer referees, said:
“I loved every minute and have never laughed and cheered as much as this. These young athletes put their heart and soul into everything they do without a bad word said, just a smile on their face, a medal of achievement around their neck and a spring in their step. My involvement with Panathlon Challenge has been one of my proudest and most humbling achievements of my life.”
Essex based charity, the Panathlon Challenge, was chosen as Stansted’s inaugural charity partner of the year for 2012. They have been the focus of the airport’s fundraising efforts throughout the year and have staged a number of sporting events and games in the terminal, including today’s a mini Paralympic Games.
Ashley Iceton, Panathlon Challenge Director, said “It is fantastic to get the support of Stansted Airport, their staff and a local Olympic athlete for three of the special schools involved in the Panathlon Challenge. Experiences like this are a fantastic learning experience for the young disabled people involved, and likewise for the spectators and staff involved, who now have a greater appreciation for what young disabled people can achieve.”