The Panathlon Challenge was the focus of London Stansted’s fundraising efforts for 2012 after being chosen as the airport’s inaugural charity partner of the year.
The Essex based charity, which came top in a staff vote, works with local schools across the South East and organises sporting competitions for disabled youngsters. Holder of the coveted Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme, the organisation also offers free training courses, supplies specialist equipment and provides qualified coaching and expertise.
Danny Crates, Paralympic Gold Medallist from Essex and sporting patron of the Panathlon charity, said:
It is fantastic news that Stansted staff have chosen the Panathlon Challenge as their first ever charity partner. Panathlon provides Paralympic type sports competitions for young disabled people in Essex and London. As a local charity based at Stansted, this partnership with the airport is truly exciting and I hope will help us provide more sports equipment, coaching and sports competitions for local disabled children in 2012. We will now work on a programme of activities at the airport and look forward to a great year working together.
The partnership included a series of fundraising events in the terminal including a special mini Paralympic Games, with airport staff being encouraged to get involved in volunteering projects.
To mark100 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, passengers travelling through Stansted were treated to a festival of Paralympic sport as the airport joined forces with local schools and Panathlon Challenge.
Harlow judo star, Faith Pitman, along with youngsters from Witham’s Southview School , Braintree’s Edith Borthwick School and Thurrock’s Beacon Hill were cheered on by passengers and staff as they showcased the sports of Boccia, Kurling and Polybat in the terminal. Seven Stansted staff volunteers – who have been trained as referees - were officiating at the event.
Claire Perry, Stansted Airport’s Olympic Co-ordinator, who was one of the volunteer referees, said:
“I loved every minute and have never laughed and cheered as much as this. These young athletes put their heart and soul into everything with a big smile on their face and a medal of achievement around their neck. My involvement with Panathlon Challenge has been one of my proudest and most humbling achievements of my life.”