Paralympic Bronze Medalist Returns to Longhill
Members, staff and friends of Longhill Sports Centre enjoyed an evening of celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sports Centre, the highlight of which was an inspirational talk by guest speaker Ben Quilter.
Paralympian Ben boasts an impressive Judo career, with over 15 years’ international competition experience, during which he gained 8 World and European medals. Ben, who is a Paralympic Judoka, became Visually Impaired World Champion in March 2010, adding a Paralympic bronze medal to his trophy cabinet on home ground at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Previously a student at Longhill High School, Ben paid tribute to his former school and its staff. “It’s a privilege and a pleasure for me to come back to Longhill”, said Ben. “I can’t thank the school and the staff, particularly the PE staff, enough for everything they did for me.”
Ben, who started Judo at the age of seven, began to lose his eyesight at the age of ten when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic sight condition called Stargardts disease. The condition left him with slow degenerative sight loss, resulting in no central vision whereby he can only see peripherally.
“Through my life I have had some fantastic role models, not least of whom were here at Longhill, and a very supportive and understanding group of friends, not to mention my amazing family. With this fantastic network of support and the nature of my chosen sport of Judo, I have developed a very positive and resilient nature.”
“It makes me feel old!” Ben went on to say. “The Longhill Sports Centre didn’t exist when I was at school here and it’s an absolutely fantastic facility for the school and the local community to enjoy. It’s great to know that the same support and opportunities are still on offer here for the next generation to enjoy.”
Longhill Sports Centre is used regularly to run clubs including trampoline, gymnastics, football, cricket, basketball and archery; qualified coaching staff from the Sports Centre have also been visiting primary schools in the area to offer sports coaching on a weekly basis. “This is a new initiative that we will be running during the autumn and spring terms for 2015/16”, said Centre Manager Allan Parker-Read, “And it is something that I and my staff feel very passionate about and hope will continue into the future.”
Mr Parker-Read went on to say, “I’d personally like to thank Ben Quilter for coming back to talk to us on this special celebration evening – every time I hear Ben talk about his achievements it’s an absolute inspiration to me.”
Congratulations to everyone involved with the Longhill Sports Centre on their first ten years and here’s to the next ten!
Ben Quilter pictured with Longhill Sports Centre Manager, Allan Parker-ReadReturn to previous page