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Open Letter in memory of Shea French-Gibbens

Shea was an inspirational young man who lived with Cerebral Palsy. I have known him since he was eight years old when he was the first member of Greenwich PFC.

Without Shea’s determination there would not be a Greenwich Powerchair football club. Ten years ago he fought to ensure disabled young people in Greenwich had the opportunity to play an exciting competitive team game.

They chose Football, Powerchair Football. It is the desire of so many young people to play the Beautiful Game, our common language. And so it was with Shea! With the support of Greenwich Council, Greenwich PFC was born!

I have so many joyous  memories of Shea. His love of playing the game.

On one of our first tournaments away in the National League, so many years ago, he said to me that it meant so much to him to go into school and talk about the goal he scored at the tournament he played in. This was for the first time. He would be just like the other boys! Incredible! Tears welled up in my eyes when I realised the difference this meant to him and all the other young people like him..

Last year he was filmed by BBC Children in Need. He said so many incredible things about what it meant to him to play Powerchair Football, to be part of the team at GPFC and how the friends he made had opened up his life! He was an inspiration to us all and so many other disabled children.

Above. Shea receives his Jack Petchey award in 2012 from the Mayor of Royal Greenwich, David Grant and Nick Raynesford MP

Adam Huggett

Adam Huggett, a Jack Petchey Award Winner

Adam is a 12 year old boy who started attending training sessions at Greenwich Powerchair Football Club in April 2016. He suffers from a physical disability called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as well as Autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Oppositional defiant disorder. 

Now Adam is feeling that he finally belongs somewhere, valued and part of a team.  On asked what being a part of Greenwich Powerchair Football Club means to him, he replied ‘I enjoy wheelchair football as I feel part of a team. I have gained confidence and a lot more independence since starting and have made friends. I would definitely recommend anyone to try wheelchair football, it is a lot of fun.’

Above: Adam with his mother and sister.

Above: Adam with the Leader of Royal Greenwich, Councillor Denise Hyland

Above: Adam, Denise Hyland with the players from Greenwich PFC, Denise Hyland,  as well as helpers and staff, Sharon Brokenshire MBE, Jonathan Dixon (director), Rhea Daly (coach), Joe Sheehan (Coach)

Above: Adam and Alfie

Above: The Leader of Royal Greenwich, Councillor Denise showing off her skill joining in with the young players!

Kyle Alexander fundraising

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At South London Special League we are doing our best to help Kyle fundraise.

Here is a link to his fundraising website:

www.gofundme.com/fundraisestrikeforce

Let’s get some enthusiasm up to help him raise money to buy his new Strikeforce Powerchair costing £7,000 (it’s like the Ferrari of PowerChairs that all the champions use). He has collected £4,000 already but we need your help to raise more!

Powerchair World Cup

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I have mentioned before that one of our Players Kyle Alexander has been selected as part of the England Squad to play in the Powerchair Football World Cup in Florida July 2017.

This is fantastic. He now plays for a Premiership national club, Sevenoaks, but still trains on Thursdays at GPFC. This is where all his friends are, who he grew up with. To him GPFC is his life. Kyle is a totally committed young player who came to Greenwich Powerchair FC in 2008. This means that he must have started playing when he was 6 years old.

He is now 15 and attends Trinity school in Lewisham. This summer he will be doing his GCSEs.

I think we should follow his adventure to Florida. One of the most important things for Kyle and is family is to save up for a new Powerchair suitable for the World championships. These cost over £7000. Kyle has already raised about £4000. Still a bit to go. Then there is the travel for him and his family. It needs a very committed person with totally committed parents.

At South London Special League we are doing our best to help him fundraise, not forgetting that in 2014 Powerchair Football will be a Paralympic Sport! He will be 23 years old. How exciting to have a Paralympian that started his career with us!