The daughter of Blackpool legend Sir Stanley Matthews has returned to the Fylde coast to put a smile on the faces of disabled children.
Jean Gough MBE, the patron of The Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation, wants every special needs school in the UK to be able to provide rebound therapy for their children.
The therapy uses trampolines to provide opportunities for movement, therapeutic exercise and recreation for people across the spectrum of special needs.
Just over half of schools in this country provide the therapy at present – but it is Jean’s personal ambition to see that change.
Jean told The Gazette: “It’s a project that enables children to learn the values of life through sport.
“This is used in other countries – like Australia, Canada and Germany – and our goal now is to make a difference in special schools across the UK.
“Currently 51 per cent of special schools in this country use it. Our pledge is to take this to every school.
“The idea is to give staff from the special schools in the area all the necessary skills and then they can go back to their schools and help spread it around Lancashire.
“It’s not just a case of getting children on trampolines – there’s also a lot of theory work involved. But the physical benefits are obviously key for those with severe disabilities.
“It also gives them that freedom, that energy and the sense of self-esteem to be more confident.
“Obviously I was brought up here in Blackpool and this is something my father would have been delighted with.
“He was very concerned with young people and he wanted to help children with special needs. It was very close to his heart.”
Staff from Park Academy, Highfurlong School and Woodlands School attended the two-day course at Blackpool Sports Centre.
Blackpool FC players Andy Taylor and Jim McAlister were also on hand to try out the trampolines and they might have just had a bit too much fun.
Taylor said: “It’s a brilliant idea to get the kids active and put a smile on their faces, which is the most important thing.
“It’s fun as you can tell when you saw me and Jim have a go. It’s a great activity for all ages.”