Panathlon received a major boost today as Stansted Airport Community Fund has invested £50,000 in developing Panathlon in Essex and East Hertfordshire.

Members from the Stansted Community Fund together with special guests Priti Patel MP and Paralympians Anne Wafula Strike, Louise Sugden and Richard Chiassaro, presented a cheque to Panathlon Challenge at Witham’s Southview School. Panathlon will increase the number of schools it works with across the area, increasing the number of disabled youngsters involved.

Speaking at the event, Priti Patel MP, said:

“I welcome the commitment made by the Stansted Community Fund to support Panathon Challenge in Essex. This charity does tremendous work supporting disabled children through giving them new skills and opportunities to fulfil their potential. Following the success of the Paralympic Games this generous contribution will go a long way to helping to get more disabled children enjoying the benefits of playing sports.”

Panathlon Challenge founder, Ashley Iceton, was delighted with the donation:

“This is fantastic news for Panathlon to have the support of Stansted Airport in 2013, which follows on from their support of our charity last year. This investment will ensure Panathlon thrives in Essex and will go to support hundreds of disabled children through specialist equipment supply and creating Paralympic type sports events throughout the county,”

The Stansted Community Fund’s judging panel, which included representatives from the local community, studied a wide range of bids before choosing the Panathlon as the winner.  The successful project needed to demonstrate a link to education, the environment or employment and bring a lasting benefit for many people in the communities surrounding the airport.

Bob Wainwright, Chair of the Community Fund, said Panathlon was chosen after a unanimous vote from the panel members:

“It is fantastic to be able to support a local charity like Panathlon through the Stansted Community Fund and we were delighted that Priti Patel MP was able to present the cheque. This summer’s Paralympic Games put disabled sport in the spotlight as never before and this donation will no doubt help Panathlon inspire more young people participate in sport. The panel was unanimous in its delight in awarding the £50,000 to Panathlon Challenge,” he said.