HUNDREDS of people with learning and physical disabilities came together in Winchester for a unique one-day sporting event.

Paralympic Personal Bests (ParaPB) provided participants with the opportunity to try out all kinds of sports such as squash, cricket, athletics and yoga at Winchester Sport and Leisure Park.

The event, launched in 2012 following the success of London’s Paralympic Games, was hosted by Winchester Go LD and Winchester City Council in partnership with Everyone Active and the University of Winchester on Thursday, September 14.

Participating organisations included: Winchester Go LD, Minstead Trust, QE2, Reach Out Caring, James’ Place Eastleigh and Basingstoke, Gosport Community Link, MCD Care Clients, Keystone Havant, Teals, The Grow Project, The Boaz Project, Osborne School, Peter Symonds College, Solent Stormers, Parkside, Creating Chaos and Windward. 

READ MORE: Hundreds to join annual Paralympic Personal Bests event in Winchester

Hampshire Chronicle: Triumphant award winner with the Mayor and swimmer Maisie Summers-NewtonTriumphant award winner with the Mayor and swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton (Image: Winchester City Council)

Awards were presented the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Angela Clear, and 20-year-old swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton, a double Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion in S6 events.

She said: “It’s incredible to be here and see how far para sport has come. The numbers here are so impressive, as is the range of sport on offer. It’s such an achievement to show people what you can do, whether that is just catching a ball or doing a lap of the athletics track.

“I spoke to one young girl who told me that she wasn’t previously interested in sport but that being at Paralympic Personal Bests and competing in everything has been inspirational for her; it shows what it can achieve for everybody.”

Hampshire Chronicle: ParaPB yogaParaPB yoga (Image: Winchester City Council)

Chief executive of Winchester Go LD, Betty Chadwick, said: “All the participants bring so much enthusiasm, energy, joy and courage with them to this really special annual event - it's a real privilege to be involved in the ParaPB team in making the event so special.

“We're thrilled that many other local learning disability organisations take part. Sport plays such an important role in supporting both physical and mental wellbeing - the ear-to-ear smiles across participant and volunteer faces at the event demonstrates how valuable sport and friendship is to us all."

Hampshire Chronicle: ParaPB at Winchester Sport and Leisure ParkParaPB at Winchester Sport and Leisure Park (Image: Winchester City Council)

Winchester City Council’s cabinet member for community and engagement, Cllr Kathleen Becker, said: “This inclusive and accessible event is now in its eleventh year and it has built to become a fantastic fixture in the district’s sporting calendar. It’s also become a hugely popular volunteering experience, with many returning to help year-after-year.

“It is even more impressive to consider how ParaPB has encouraged participation in year-round regular exercise, with participants becoming inspired to move on to other local events such as Parkrun.”

SEE ALSO: All you need to know about the Winchester Half Marathon

Hampshire Chronicle: ParaPB at Winchester Sport and Leisure ParkParaPB at Winchester Sport and Leisure Park (Image: Winchester City Council)

Alison Lewis, area manager at Everyone Active, said: "This year's ParaPB has been nothing short of brilliant. Witnessing so many people come together, get actively involved and have fun was truly amazing.

“ParaPB has become a cherished tradition and it reflects our commitment to providing accessible leisure opportunities. We are proud to be a part of this incredible event and look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come."

Helen Thomas, sports facilities manager at the University of Winchester, said: “The university runs numerous athletics competitions and community events at the sports stadium but this is one of the most rewarding.

“A large amount of work goes on behind the scenes by the ParaPB planning committee to make sure that it is a successful and well-organised event. The University of Winchester looks forward to continuing to support this event and being part of its continued success.”

As well as main event sponsor Simplyhealth, planning input from Santander and trophies donated by Osborne Property Services, ParaPB was supported by a host of volunteers and sports coaches from organisations such as Brewin Dolphin and Osborne Property Services.