Mascot Mandeville is festival’s star signing

THE official mascot for the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be making a special appearance at the Northumberland Sportsability Festival this weekend.

Character Mandeville will star at the event, which is free for any young person aged between nine and 18 who has a learning disability or a physical or sensory impairment, and lives in Northumberland.

The Paralympic festival of sport takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Newcastle’s Sport Central and a range of sporting opportunities will be provided for participants including archery, athletics, Boccia, fencing, football, climbing wall, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

Sports professionals and volunteers will be on hand throughout the weekend to supervise activities and provide advice on how to continue playing sport in your local area.

Parents, guardians and family members are also invited to join in the fun and take advantage of the sporting facilities on offer during the event, which has been organised by Northumberland Sport and supported by the English Federation for Disability Sport, Northumberland Aiming High and National Governing Bodies for Sport.

The festival is also associated to Northumberland Sport’s Bringing the Games Closer project, which aims to bring the spirit and excitement of the 2012 Games to Northumberland by highlighting the huge amount of local talent and potential that exists in the county.

Northumberland’s most successful Paralympian and winner of three gold medals, Stephen Miller, said: “London 2012 is fast approaching so it would be great to see local young people taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get involved in sport as the momentum builds to next year.

“Sport Central is a fantastic addition to the region’s sporting facilities and hopefully some participants from the Northumberland Sportsability event will go on to realise their dreams and ambitions and one day compete at a future Paralympic Games.”

Doug Lowery, executive director for Northumberland Sport, said the event will offer young disabled people a chance to try a number of sports, some of which they may not have tried previously, and want to encourage more young people to enjoy sport and to participate more regularly.

For more information and to book a place at the festival, visit www.northumberland or call 01670 542343.