Over 500 young people from over 50 primary and secondary schools in Kent converged at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford, Kent recently for the Kent Challenger Games 2017.
The activities included: command tasks, stretcher racing, boccia handball, slalom run, soft javelin and a long jump. The stadium was buzzing with the Royal Gurkha Rifles Band opening the event, along with cheerleaders and a choir to help make the day truly special and memorable for everyone present.
The event was the brainchild of the Games Champion, Mayor of Ashford Winston Michael who was in attendance with other local VIPs, he said:
“Today has been a dream come true, some of these young people won’t have had the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities or sports at their schools, today really has shown what they are capable of, in a challenging but safe environment”.
The High Sheriff of Kent, George Jessel opened the event, he commented:
“This has been an excellent event for children of all abilities to participate in sport with a military flair, it’s been a fantastic day and we must thank all of the volunteers from Challenger Troop and for the sponsors for their support”.
Samantha Twyman (who is a Lt for the Kent Army Cadets) was in attendance with pupils from the North School, she said:
“The Kent Challenger Games was a great opportunity for our students to get involved in a range of activities that they would not usually access at school. They went back to school buzzing; not winning did not make any difference; they had so much fun taking part. A fantastic experience for so many young people from so many different backgrounds”.
One of the parents Emma Castle asked her daughter what she thought about the event:
“Amy has learning difficulties I had to prompt her a little but this is what she had to say, it was a good day, I really enjoyed it and it was really nice mixing with other schools, I liked doing the javelin throwing.”
Major Simon Dean, OBE, founder of Challenger Troop ensured the safe and smooth running of the activities on the day with his dedicated team.
“Today has been a team effort, it has been fantastic to see it all come together with so much support from the local community. It was great to see the young people getting stuck in and challenging themselves with unfamiliar activities – there was a real buzz and the feedback has been excellent”.
The games were kindly supported by: Kent County Council, Lawson, Tesco, Ashford Designer Outlet, The Polebrook Fund, Kent Community Foundation, Ashford Borough Council and Challenger Troop.
There was also a re-signing of the Armed Forces Covenant with Lieutenant Colonel Andy Betts from 3PWRR present to cement community and military relations. The Army and Air Cadets along with veterans and the REME all had stands at the event to support community relations.
Here’s some more comments from the schools:
Dean Hawkins, Wittersham Primary School;
“Today has been inspiring, there was a great atmosphere and the kids really enjoyed mixing with the military personnel.”
Oliver Quiddinton from Ham Street Primary said;
“This was a great day and really well organised, it was enjoyed by all.”