MOTHER’S PRIDE

The Cheetahs wheelchair sports club held their first birthday celebrations at Thornton Sports Centre.'Club founder Christine Anderson with the cake.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'4-11-2011

The Cheetahs wheelchair sports club held their first birthday celebrations at Thornton Sports Centre.'Club founder Christine Anderson with the cake. PIC BY ROB LOCK'4-11-2011

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JUST one year ago, Christine Anderson was desperate to find a way to give her eight-year-old son Christopher, who has spina bifida, more confidence.

He was out of school as the family, from Thornton, tried to find somewhere suitable to cater for his complex needs.

She was frustrated by the lack of facilities for Christopher and other wheelchair users.

Then she set up a new group to transform the lives of both disabled and able-bodied youngsters, called the Cheetahs.

The organisation has just celebrated its first birthday, and news of its work has spread – film crews from Channel 4 will be visiting this Friday to feature the group in a programme about disabled sport.

The club now has 20 wheelchairs for its members, who take part in sports from hockey to basketball – with both disabled and able-bodied youngsters competing in wheelchairs.

Christine said: “It’s been an incredible year. I’m still in shock, and can’t believe how many people want to be a part of it and get so much from the club.

“A year ago, I was desperate to build Christopher’s confidence and show him how able he is. He is now happy and doing so well at St Michaels on Wyre Primary School.”

The Cheetahs celebrated the first anniversary with a big party at the Thornton YMCA Sports Centre.

Christine said: “I walked into the party and stood in shock.

“The sports hall had been decorated, there was a DJ, a buffet prepared by the parents, a clown, face-painting, magician, and a huge birthday cake.

“The parents and volunteers had done it all. We have such a great group of families, and I couldn’t believe they had done it all.”

She added: “Christopher loved the party and raised £122 in raffle ticket sales on the night, making sure everyone bought a ticket.

“And on Saturday morning, he and his nana, who had a hip replacement this time last year, went off on a sponsored walk – stopping at the Bourne Poacher pub en route – and raised another £116 towards The Cheetahs’ holiday next summer.

“I’m so proud of the progress we have made as a club, and the children have made individually. It’s been a tremendous year.

“The club has brought together the community, and I am overwhelmed by the support and benefits so many people are getting from the club.”

n For details, call 07891 367 389, email christinecheetahs@btinternet.com or visit www.thecheetahs.co.uk.