Paralympic hopefuls pool their talents

Gala for swimmers with cerebral palsy at The Dolphin. Nyah Watson Pill, during the 25m backstroke. Pic Steve Robards

Gala for swimmers with cerebral palsy at The Dolphin. Nyah Watson Pill, during the 25m backstroke. Pic Steve Robards

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A small charity based in Haywards Heath is making a big splash for swimmers with Cerebral Palsy after being inspired by the 2012 London Paralympics.

The Cheyne Charity for Children with Cerebral Palsy sponsored a gala at The Dolphin leisure centre on Saturday because there are so few sporting events across the south east for youngsters who want to compete and do well.

Gala for swimmers with cerebral palsy at The Dolphin. 25m backstroke. Pic Steve Robards

Gala for swimmers with cerebral palsy at The Dolphin. 25m backstroke. Pic Steve Robards

Fundraiser Geoff Buckle said: “At the Paralympics last year there were a lot of swimmers with Cerebral Palsy and we wanted to organise a gala to encourage swimmers to do well.”

CP Sport England and Wales, which promotes sporting activities for youngsters with Cerebral Palsy was very enthusiastic about the idea and helped to organise Saturday’s event.

Geoff said: “We found out from CP Sport that there are lots of activities going on in Birmingham and Nottingham but hardly anything down here. I was amazed and shocked to hear that.

“Swimmers came to the gala from right across the south east - from Ipswich, Plymouth and Portsmouth. A representative from the Amateur Swimming Association was also there to look out for swimmers with potential.

“There were two swimmers in particular who were really good and there were also swimmers who just liked the idea of interacting.”

The Cheyne Charity goes back to 1889 when Cheyne Hospital, on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London was opened for children who needed specialist nursing care.

The charity is now based in Aviation House, Sussex Road, Haywards Heath and is chaired by solicitor Rupert Rohan who said: “We were so inspired by the 2012 Paralympics that we are looking to sponsor young Cerebral Palsy swimmers and athletes for the Rio Paralympics in 2016.”

You can read more on this story in the Mid Sussex Times, published on Thursday, September 26. The next gala arranged by the charity with CP Sport is on September 26 at K2 in Crawley.

The charity website is: cheynecharity