‘Joy and laughter’: the Leicester rugby team for children with Down’s syndrome

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A rugby squad group up for young group pinch Down’s syndrome has been described arsenic a “lifeline” by parents who opportunity location is simply a chronic deficiency of opportunities for their children.

Leicester Tigers launched nan squad successful October past twelvemonth and now person much than 40 families signed up to their fortnightly training sessions.

Kelly Towl, whose eight-year-old, Lucie-Ann, attends nan sessions said nan squad had had a affirmative effect connected her daughter.

“There aren’t galore sports aimed solely astatine children pinch Down’s syndrome, truthful for that to really hap is positive,” she said. “Your children are not judged, we’re not judged … we’re each successful nan aforesaid boat.”

Towl, a mother of 3 whose family are fans of Leicester Tigers and regularly be matches, said she was very excited by nan opportunity for her girl to participate successful nan sport.

“I deliberation children pinch Down’s syndrome, they’re stereotyped … truthful this really is simply a lifeline, and different sports and different teams should really return note,” she said. “You’ve only sewage to spot nan grin connected their faces connected a Sunday greeting and nan hug they springiness each other, it’s conscionable tear-jerking.”

 he has nan shot successful his arms and is moving towards nan camera arsenic different players and coaches look connected from behind. He looks intent and wished arsenic he runs.
Louis Lindsay-Timmins (front right), 17, has grown successful assurance since joining nan team, says his mother, Judy. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

Judy Lindsay-Timmins, genitor to Louis, 17, described nan squad arsenic a “safe, awesome situation for our young people” that had developed her son’s communication, attraction and confidence.

“Louis is very active, loves being extracurricular and being fixed nan opportunity to subordinate sports nan aforesaid arsenic anyone else,” she said. “He feels arsenic if he’s a personnel of a team. A family group … because alternatively of being connected nan sidelines, he’s embraced, he’s portion of it.”

The parents described nan squad arsenic indispensable, peculiarly owed to nan chronic deficiency of organization groups for children and families pinch Down’s syndrome.

When asked if location were akin groups disposable successful her section area, Lindsay-Timmons said: “No, decidedly not. We unrecorded successful Lincolnshire, truthful we recreation astir an hour, truthful complete 30 miles to come, because location is thing successful our section area.”

Megan Kirby, nan coach, leans down pinch her look alongside that of Noah, eight, arsenic 22-year-old Harvey stands by; each 3 deterioration nan greenish squad T-shirt, are holding rugby balls, and are smiling widely
‘It’s conscionable each positive,’ says Megan Kirby, nan coach, seen present pinch Noah, eight, and 22-year-old Harvey. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

The coach, Megan Kirby, 26, said nan deficiency of opportunities for young group pinch Down’s syndrome had inspired her to group up nan squad pinch nan Leicester Tigers Foundation charity.

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“I moved down to nan Midlands past twelvemonth successful astir June, and erstwhile I moved into my caller domiciled I saw that not overmuch was going connected successful nan full of nan East Midlands conscionable for group pinch Down’s syndrome. So nan thought came astir of mounting up a squad and Leicester Tigers were really connected committee pinch it … it’s been nan champion determination I’ve ever made.”

Kirby, an acquisition serviceman astatine Leicester Tigers Foundation, said she had seen “massive changes” successful nan children, pinch galore proudly describing themselves arsenic “Leicester Tigers players” and immoderate older players coaching younger participants.

“It’s thing that I tin really get affectional speaking about,” she said. “Some of nan families, they’ve ne'er met immoderate different children pinch Down’s syndrome before, truthful they conscionable consciousness for illustration they’re accepted … it’s conscionable happiness and joyousness erstwhile we are there.”

 nan group of boys and girls spans a assortment of ages and heights, and they look happy; immoderate are holding rugby balls successful nan aerial supra their heads
The players airs pinch nan master Leicester Tigers subordinate Nic Dolly and their coach, Megan Kirby, right. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

Kirby said she would promote different sports teams crossed nan state to present akin schemes aft nan occurrence of their group.

“Come to 1 of our sessions, spot really overmuch joyousness and laughter it’s going to bring to your ain life and their lives and spell for it. There’s not 1 antagonistic successful it astatine all, it’s conscionable each positive,” she said.

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Source theguardian
theguardian