An impossible dream coming true for local veteran
A sporting ‘first’ is starting right here in Telford. The official launch of Sports Officiating from a Powered Wheelchair (SOPW) takes place on Monday 26 July 2021 at St Georges Cricket Club.
The brainchild of local veteran – Mr John McIntear – who,last year, raised significant funds (with the help of the Royal British Legion)and purchased a powered wheelchair enabling him to continue umpiring at localcricket matches. John now dedicates his time to encouraging other peoplewith disabilities to follow their own sports officiating goals.
The launch starts at 6PM at St. Georges Cricket Club,St Georges, Telford with a 100-ball friendly cricket match made up of two teamsof all abilities –the Pirates take on Shropshire United (which will featuresome well-known personalities from BBC Radio Shropshire). The launch willbe attended by Richard Overton, Deputy Leader at Telford and Wrekin Council,Mayor of the Boroughof Telford and Wrekin, Lucy Allen MP and there will also be stallsattended by MacMillan Cancer Care, Lingen Davies Cancer Care, the Royal BritishLegion and Quantum Wheelchairs.
“An impossible dream has come true thanks to so many peoplewho have helped me with the project. This is very much just the beginning ofthe project for us and we are looking for a national body to take this onproviding bespoke support for people with disabilities to be able to train,skill-up or continue with officiating at sporting events across the country andat all levels. We simply don’t see people with a visible disability officiatingat events when we watch sport on television or at local events. This is what Iwant to change and this is just the beginning” said John.
CouncillorChris Turley, lead on the Armed Forces Covenant for Telford and Wrekin Council commented “Weare delighted this launch event is taking place and will hopefully be thecatalyst for further co-operative work to further John’s dream of enabling manymore people to officiate at sports events.
As a veteran, John has spent his life overcoming barriers and finding solutions and yet again we see him working hard to make change happen. This launch is about an aspirational goal but it is also hugely inspirational for people of all ages."
More information and inspiration behind this initiative canbe found at https://www.sopw.org/
Launch venue is St Georges Cricket Club, St Georges, ChurchStreet, St Georges, Telford, TF2 9LU.