Challengers wheel in £6k at annual legacy relay

Wheelchair Legacy Relay Challenge at Bedford.
Wheelchair Legacy Relay Challenge at Bedford.

A wheelchair challenge held in Bedford has raised almost £6,000 to help sports for the disabled.

The 4th Annual Wheelchair Legacy Relay Challenge was held at Bedford International Athletic Stadium and brings the total from the four events to date to more than £20,000.

Wheelchair Legacy Relay Challenge at Bedford - Mayor Dave Hodgson with Ciaran McCarthy, recipient of one of the Sport Bedford grants, and Richard Ball from Riverside Tennis Club

Wheelchair Legacy Relay Challenge at Bedford - Mayor Dave Hodgson with Ciaran McCarthy, recipient of one of the Sport Bedford grants, and Richard Ball from Riverside Tennis Club

The 2015 Challenge attracted 35 teams, each with the four members competing over a 4 x 50 metre shuttle relay course, while 40 individual competitors, both able bodied and disabled, raced over one lap of the track – an exhausting 400 metres!

Mayor Dave Hodgson began the day’s events by starting the early races and presented certificates to the first two recipients of the recently launched Sport Bedford grant aid scheme, funded by the proceeds from the Challenge.

Ciaran McCarthy, hearing impaired, and Gary Cox, a quadriplegic, both from Bedford’s Riverside Lawn Tennis Club, were awarded funding to assist with the costs of individual coaching and equipment.

The 2015 Challenge was honoured by the presence of former GB Paralympic athlete, Anne Wafula-Strike MBE, from Harlow, Jessica Stretton, from Hemel Hempstead, gold medallist archer at the International World Amputee Sport Junior Games, Toby Sweeney, from Leicester, a young wheelchair racer, and Chris Rattenbury, an ambassador for WheelPower.

The challenge was the brainchild of Howard Darbon who organised the successful London 2012 Pre Games Training Camps in Bedford and its expansion has been made possible by the involvement of a band of enthusiastic volunteers from Rotary Clubs in the area.

Mary Whitehead, responsible for the event organisation, explained what the event meant to her fellow Rotarians: “It was wonderful seeing so many people of all ages supporting the event and having great fun doing so.”

Funds raised by this unique event are split between WheelPower, Whizz-Kidz, Sport Bedford and Herts Sport and Wellbeing – all of which invest in developing sport for young people with disabilities.

It is also a tribute to those involved in the organisation of the Challenge that WheelPower and Rotary have formed an alliance to roll out the concept throughout the United Kingdom.

Winners of the 2015 Wheelchair Legacy Challenge:

Adult: Bedford School i; Family - Milton Keynes Grand Union; Junior - Biggleswade Air Cadets; Senior (over 65) - Baldock Rotary Club; Workplace - Standalone Storage; Individual one lap - John Croft.