Doucecroft School pupil Peter Vaughan has been rewarded for “totally changing his attitude to physical activity” with our Woodland Group Essex Primary Outstanding Achiever runner-up trophy. 

Peter, 11, who has autism, was first introduced to Panathlon activities at Doucecroft School in Colchester by sports coordinator Andrea Griffiths through our bean bag target throwing game. 

Each week in Key Stage 2 PE, the school sports hall would be set up with Panathlon activities, with additional balancing stations and running games to help develop Peter’s physical capabilities. 

He then progressed to swimming and Peter was asked whether he wanted to compete in a local Panathlon gala in Colchester. Initially he refused, but Andrea said: “We persuaded him to attend and we have never seen him so excited, especially when we got medals and certificates.” 

Peter with his mum Wendy at our awards ceremony

Peter’s mum Wendy Vaughan said: “He was doing part-time hours at mainstream school before and so only did a small bit of PE, but going to Doucecroft and being able to take part in Panathlon has been incredible. 

“He’s done so much. Getting a bronze medal at the swimming gala at the London Aquatics Centre was the highlight, but he also took part in all the Panathlon at-home activities every day during lockdown. We were living in a small flat at the time but we adapted the space and he loved seeing the improvement in his scores. It really boosted him. 

“Doucecroft has made a massive difference to him and thank you to Panathlon for constantly pushing him that little bit further, to do and achieve more.” 

Andrea added: “We have seen a massive difference in his coordination, confidence and team spirit – especially since taking part in the Panathlon. 

“Since his first Panathlon event, I can see how much it has changed his attitude towards physical activity, helped him overcome his fear of failing and given him a sense of belonging. 

“But Peter has done the majority of the work himself – his achievements are the product of his self-development and we are so proud of him.” 

Peter was presented with his Essex Primary Outstanding Achiever Runner-Up trophy at a special Doucecroft School Christmas celebration by Jac Randhawa, John Stubbings and Chris Harvey from Woodland Group, Panathlon’s sponsors of primary sporting activity in Essex.