Disability sports club in Lincolnshire set to celebrate 20th anniversary

A Sleaford-based club which promotes sport and athletics for people with disabilities is to celebrate its 20th anniversary next month.
Sleaford Laffletics co-founder Thelma Smith.Sleaford Laffletics co-founder Thelma Smith.
Sleaford Laffletics co-founder Thelma Smith.

In 2004, Sleaford Laffletics began as a disability adapted athletics club, founded by Thelma Smith and Sally Baxter.On Saturday April 6 they are celebrating their 20th birthday.

In 1990 after a serious traffic collision, Thelma became a full-time wheelchair user. She recalls: “As a result of the accident I spent seven and a half months in Sheffield spinal unit, where a big part of the rehabilitation included wheelchair sports.“When I returned home to Leasingham there were no such facilities. So when the opportunity arose to start something, I became involved because I knew that sports and keeping active is beneficial for both physical and mental well-being.

"This is when I met Sally, in 2004, and the Laffletics club was born."

Thelma said they had about six members on their books to begin with.

“Over the years we have evolved and changed to the different needs and ages, and cover a large area locally including Sleaford, Boston, Spalding, Grantham and many surrounding villages,” she said.“Once you have witnessed the atmosphere, enthusiasm and enjoyment our session brings, you will be hooked, and like myself leave with a smile on your face and a positive attitude regarding disability and sports.”

Sally retired after 10 years, and Thelma still helps to run the club, alongside a good number of other volunteers, some parents, as well as committee members.

Thelma said: “They are a wide age group from retired people to a lot of youngsters who are using Laffletics as apart of their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering section.

"We now have over 40 members, of all abilities, who enjoy football, tennis, basketball, athletics, cricket, yoga, and many more sports that are adapted for the sessions to promote inclusion.

"Our members can participate at their own pace, have fun, keep active and socialise with other like minded people. Our ages range from seven years upwards, and our abilities range from wheelchair users, to fully active members, who just need guidance and opportunities to flourish. We also have some members that visit purely for the social environment.”it is a voluntary community group which coaches, enables, encourages and helps with the general running of Laffletics. They also have a number of visiting coaches and clubs who come to gain more knowledge regarding disability and help maintain inclusion and equality for their own clubs.On April 6, from 10.15am to 1pm, at Northgate Sports Hall, they are hosting an open day, where everyone is invited for coffee and cake, to observe some of the activities and meet members and volunteers to ask questions and get a feel for what the club stands for and what it can do.

New members and volunteers are always welcome, if anyone fancies joining in the future.

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