The Malmo Open for Disabled Athletes

Harry Fairchild was Brighton Table Tennis Club’s outstanding performer at the recent 40th Malmo Open for athletes with disabilities. He reached the ping-pong play-offs in the Open, which includes 19 sports, and won the friendship medal for promoting a great atmosphere throughout the event.

Harry and the other five players, Abigail Cunningham, Robert English, Emma Ritchie, Andrew Tonkin and Phil Wright, all performed extremely well against more experienced players from many European countries, among them Sweden, Germany, Serbia, Bosnia and Iceland.

BTTC guest player David Wetherill, who is world ranked 6 in his class and will represent GB in the Paralympics in Rio, won the silver medal in his group.

Says BTTC Trustee Tim Holtam. “Our players did our city proud in Malmo, and their success is a fruit of the club’s partnership with the Grace Eyre Foundation, who support and manage the Sports for All Project in Sussex.

“For the past three years we have worked together to offer hugely popular sessions for over-16s with learning disabilities. The standard of play is very good and improving all the time, thanks to the commitment and expertise of the club’s coaches. Our ambition is to send BTTC players to the Paralympics.”

 

Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) at The Fitzherbert Centre opens seven days a week to players of all ages and abilities. A local community club and registered charity, it holds weekly sessions for a wide range of groups, among them primary school children, under 16s, over 60s, people with learning disabilities and looked after children. Two women-only sessions are held each week. It also works with refugee children.

BTTC also runs regular sessions in five secondary and eight primary schools in the city. More than 260 students play across three campuses each week at City College where BTTC provides coaches for six weekly sessions. The King Alfred 50+ session has an average of 40 players each week.

More information: brightontabletennisclub.co.uk

The Grace Eyre charity helps people with learning disabilities in Sussex and Lambeth gain independence, obtain housing and find employment.

The men and women it works with are able to build a programme of sessions based on their own interests and aspirations through the Active Lives scheme, which promotes independence and learning a wide range of activities as well as giving people the ability to develop new networks and friendships. The activities include creative arts, work and skills, sports, leisure and healthy lives.

More information: grace-eyre.org

Kieron Pelling
March 9, 2016