Pupils with disabilities and special needs from St Augustine’s School in Halifax were crowned county champions at the Panathlon Yorkshire Primary Final in York.
Competing in a variety of sporting events including boccia blast, new age kurling and athletics races, the children won by 15 points, beating Abbey School, from Rotherham, and Girlington Primary in Bradford, who finished joint second on 33 points each, with four others teams also taking part from across Yorkshire.
St Augustine’s had qualified for the Yorkshire-wide final after winning the West Yorkshire Primary Panathlon early in 2017.
The team from the mainstream school had a mixture of disabilities, including severe learning difficulties and some who are deaf.
School’s sports Development Officer, Dawn Kelly, said: “It’s so important for the children, because they might not get the chance to compete anywhere else.
“They get to experience taking part in a competition, being with other children who are like them, work on their fine motor skills and build friendships across year groups.”
St Augustine’s pupil Rehaan, 11, said: “I’m shocked! The boccia was my favourite event”.
Ismail, nine, said: “This feels excellent! I’m going to put my medal up on the wall in my bedroom.”
Panathlon is a charity that gives over 13,000 young people with disabilities and special needs every year the opportunity to engage in competitive sport that they are so often otherwise denied.
Attending the Yorkshire Primary Final were staff from one of the charity’s principal sponsors, the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation.
One of their volunteers, Jon Ellis, said: “I only joined St. James’s Place in April and this is the third time I’ve had the privilege of working at a Panathlon.
“For me, this is not selfless; it’s selfish, because I get just as much enjoyment out of it as the children! You just can’t buy this: the competition, the interaction, the fulfilment the children get from it and, of course, their smiles.”
The event was supported by Hays Travel and the Yorkshire Sport Foundation.