Pupils on trip of a lifetime
SEVEN disabled children had the "time of their lives" when they were taken to watch the Paralympic Games in London.
For five pupils at Woodlands Special School and two at Sir John Hunt Community College a recent trip to the London Paralympic Games has made them realise what they can achieve.
The seven children, between eight and 14 years old, had been gifted tickets to the Games because of PE teacher Katy Wedgwood's involvement in organising a number of sporting events.
Ms Wedgwood, from Woodlands school, said: "The trip was incredible – it's the biggest thing we have ever done and everyone had the time of their lives.
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"As soon as the national anthem came on the children were all stood up cheering – I can't describe how amazing that was to see.
"The whole experience has without a doubt inspired them to take up sports and it's made them realise what they can achieve.
"This is what I wanted to do when I trained to become a PE teacher – change children's lives. I was nearly in tears by the end of the day it was just so amazing."
The lucky pupils were also awarded free train tickets to and from the Games by First Great Western after The Herald contacted the transport operator.
Ms Wedgwood said: "We were met by a manager at Paddington train station who showed us to a shuttle bus. The whole service we received from First Great Western was just so professional it allowed us to get from Plymouth to the Games without having to worry about a thing. Socially this has been a wonderful experience for the children."
The physically disabled pupils, who suffer from a range of conditions including spina bifida and cerebral palsy, travelled to the capital on Thursday where they watched wheelchair racing, triple jump, discus, 100m sprints and 200m sprints.
Jorina Peters, one of the pupils who went to the Games, said: "I feel privileged to have gone to the Paralympics. The best thing was actually being there, and I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped us. I now feel like I want to go and get good enough at a sport to compete next time!"
Doaa Shayea, Plymouth's Paralympic Flame ambassador, was also among the pupils to travel to London.
Ms Wedgwood said: "If Doaa is competing in Rio in 2016 I've just got to get the children out there to watch her. By hell or by high water I've got to do it. It would be a dream to get them to Rio to watch their peer racing. I never even thought we'd get to London so if there is a will there's a way!"