Staff from St James’s Place Foundation were proud to volunteer as officials and helpers across three days of Panathlon primary county finals in Gloucestershire.
A total of 191 children represented their schools, having come through qualifying rounds to reach their respective finals at Hartpury College in Gloucester and Stratford Park Leisure Centre in Stroud.
Funding was provided by St James’s Place Foundation, and 20 volunteers from one of Panathlon’s key supporters kept score and offered coaching points across adapted sports such as boccia, new age kurling, basketball, precision beanbag and parachute popcorn. The events were also supported by Active Gloucester and the School Games.
Carol Rogers, Project Consultant at St James’s Place Foundation, has volunteered her time to provide administration support and event day management across the Gloucestershire events. She said:
“Panathlon events are an eye-opener and an inspiration. Seeing the pleasure and enthusiasm of even the most timid children is fantastic, and it is an absolute treat to be involved in a day from which everyone – children, parents, teachers, carers, volunteers and organisers – all come away with a big smile.”
“This past week has been a culmination of everything we have done across Gloucestershire and I have experienced nothing like these days. I have followed schools on their journey throughout the year, experienced all the characters and tight competition. Now seeing their achievements honoured, it has been so worthwhile.”
Louise Colsell, St James’s Place’s Client Services Manager, said: “This is my second year volunteering at a Panathlon event and it is a truly inspiring organisation. The enthusiasm the children have for the event, together with the thanks they express to the people volunteering is humbling.
“I am very proud that SJP see this as a worthwhile charity to support and I will be back for a third year next year.”
First-time volunteer Helen Jenkins added: “The children were really enthusiastic and focused on the activities. It was great to see how much they enjoyed the day and the sense of achievement that it gave them.”
Thrilling contests ensured across the three finals with Calton pipping Chesterton for the Special Schools title by only three points.
Hempsted, winners of the inaugural Gloucestershire primary swimming gala in May, continued their Panathlon successes by taking the Pan Disability Final by one point from Mitcheldean School, who finished three points ahead of bronze medalists Chalford Hill.
The Plate Final saw Thomas Keble come out on top of Hempsted’s B team by a narrow margin.
Panathlon’s Primary programme continues to grow and only staging finals across three days could meet the amazing demand generated, providing even more children with the chance to compete and socialise in a vibrant atmosphere.
The feedback from St James’s Place staff who officiated over the three days was glowingly positive. Roslynn Clarke added to the buzz of post-event enthusiasm as she commented: “Panathlon is a wonderful thing to be involved in. I’ve never had more of a fulfilling day at ‘work’! The kids are fabulous, enthusiastic, happy and incredibly inspiring – a true reality check to put the important things in life back into perspective!”
Jessica Masters added: “Being a part of a Panathlon event is hugely rewarding. Seeing children gradually get more confident throughout the day and support their team members is amazing. It’s been a great day and an opportunity to do something different being surrounded by enthusiastic, passionate and somewhat competitive children and leaders!”
Caroline Harvey summarised: “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience which was very well organised and great fun for all the children, and the adults! It was a pleasure to see all the non-stop enthusiasm and energy. I can’t wait to be involved in future events.”
On day two of the finals at Hartpury College, McKenzie O’Reilly was presented with Panathlon’s Gloucestershire Outstanding Achiever award. We will have a full report on McKenzie’s achievements on panathlon.com shortly, as well as those of runner-up Ryan Payne, and ‘Highly Commended’ duo, Dillon Campbell and William Loughrey.
For a full gallery of images from three days of primary finals in Gloucestershire, please click on the image below.
Special Schools competition:
St Pauls 40
Pan Disability Championship:
Hempstead A 57
Chalford Hill 53
Pan Disability Plate:
Thomas Keble 65
Hempstead B 61
Thank you to St James’s Place Foundation, Tom Hall at Active Gloucester and School Games organisers.