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Saturday 6th April 2013

The U's staged their 2nd annual Disability Awareness Day on Saturday and provided a showcase for a range of local organisations to promote the services, support and opportunities that they offer to people with disabilities and to those who care for them.

Highlights of the day included a boccia demonstration, blind football "taster" sessions and a 5-a-side  game between Sutton Eagles and a Chelsea FC disability team.


RIGHT: Chelsea FC Foundation ran blind football taster sessions


U’s Chairman Bruce Elliott presents cheques for £1,000 each to Tracey Hickey of Sutton Mencap and Simon Hartshorn from Radio Marsden

LBS Mayor Sean Brennan greets and congratulates the six walkers as they arrive at the Borough Sports Ground just 20 seconds behind schedule at the end of their 8-hour walk. (photo:


The U’s partnered with many local organisations to promote the opportunities and support available to local people with disabilities or to those who care for them. One of the highlights of the day was Sport For All, a showcase for sports clubs who provide opportunities for disabled people to participate in sport. There were demonstrations of the Paralympic sport of boccia, as well as cricket and football, including opportunities for normally sighted people to gain a small understanding of what playing is like for blind footballers.

Special partners for the day were Chelsea FC Foundation, who not only ran the blind football sessions and put on some expert coaching sessions but also provided the opposition in a 5-a-side game against local disability team Sutton Eagles, which took place during half-time in the U’s 3-0 Blue Square South win over Billericay Town. Chelsea’s mascot, Stamford The Lion, also put in a guest appearance alongside the Met Police’s PCSO Steve and the U’s own Jenny Giraffe.

Having reached the 2nd Round of last season’s FA Cup the U’s were eligible for a share of the pool arising from the FA Community Shield match and the club chose to nominate two local charities, Sutton Mencap and Radio Marsden, to each benefit to the tune of £1,000 and the organisations were presented with their cheques at half-time.

That wasn’t the end for the two charities though as a g*roup of six Sutton supporters, including chairman of the board Dave Farebrother, raised a four-figure sum for them by walking to the game from Dave’s home near Horsham, a little over 24 miles through the Sussex and Surrey countryside. The rest of the group comprised Sarah Bleksley, Ian Bell, Steve Millington, Stewart Howe and the club’s Press Secretary, Tony Dolbear.

The Disability Awareness Day was the first event to have been run by the club’s new Community Outreach Team, appointed recently with support from the Football Conference Foundation. Club Chairman Bruce Elliott was full of praise for the way the event had gone. “I think everyone who came had a great day,” he enthused. “Events such as this take a lot of organisation and we are grateful to the Conference Foundation for helping us put the new outreach team in place. I was talking to the Mayor, Sean Brennan, over lunch and he was very impressed by the scale and scope of today’s activities. I think that it shows that the club is very much on the right track and that we are about so much more than football.”

RIGHT: Jenny tests her skills on a disability cycle courtesy of Ecolocal.


BELOW: LBS Mayor Sean Brennan with PCSO Steve, Jenny the Giraffe and Stamford the Lion
Our thanks to all organisations who participated in the event.
Chelsea Football Foundation / Sutton Eagles FC / SCILL: Sutton Centre for Independent Living / National Autistic Society, Sutton Branch: Rainbow sibs / EcoLocal - disability cycling project based at Sutton / Riverside CC Boccia / Sutton Runners / Canine Partners Sutton / Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation: Sutton Shopmobility / Sutton MENCAP / Independence Homes / Radio Marsden / Cheam Marcua Swimming Club / Cricket for Change / Community Sport & Physical Activity Team London Borough of Sutton
If you would like further information on DAD or would like to be involved in next years please: Contact Community Section
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