Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, today visited children in Newcastle at the Percy Hedley Foundation and the offices of business advisory firm, Deloitte.
The visits which were arranged by staff at Deloitte, the official professional services provider to London 2012, saw Wenlock and Mandeville take part in a wheelchair skills training session with children at the Percy Hedley Sports Academy. They then visited Deloitte’s offices in Trinity Gardens to meet children as part of the firm’s ‘family day’.
Deloitte is a long-standing supporter of disability sport in the UK and through its support of Deloitte Parasport and the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme aims to lead the way in corporate support for disability sport by driving participation and improving elite performance to secure more podium finishes at future Paralympic Games.
The firm is also aiming to raise £1m for ParalympicsGB by 2013, through its corporate challenge, Deloitte Ride Across Britain. Last year, the inaugural event saw over 600 people, including 100 Deloitte people, partners and clients, cycle 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End. This year’s event, which will involve North East Deloitte partner Stuart Cottee, takes place in June and fundraising has already exceeded £370,000.
Paul Williamson, senior partner at Deloitte in Newcastle, said:
“It’s great to see children benefitting from the great work that this charity does in the region and hopefully through encouraging greater participation in disability sport, we will begin to see the emergence of more elite Paralympic athletes from the North East and maybe one or two medallists for future Paralympic Games..
“Deloitte is committed in supporting the development of athletes with a disability and over the past five years the Deloitte Disability Sport Programme has invested over £1.7m.”
Speaking about the visit, Tony Best, CEO of the Percy Hedley Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Deloitte and its Disability Sport programme as we share the same ethos of transforming the life experiences of disabled people through playing sport.
“Here at the Foundation we are passionate about disability sport and endeavour to promote the benefits of sport to disabled people and the wider community. Our Sports Academy organises a wide range of sports activities, and these are enjoyed by recreational and elite athletes throughout the North East region. The visit of the official London 2012 mascots, Mandeville and Wenlock was a delight for us all, and an excellent opportunity to further encourage the participation of disabled people in sports.”