Council backs Mansfield and Ashfield Paralympic swimmers Charlotte Henshaw and Ollie Hynd

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NOTTINGHAMSHIRE is sending out its support to local athletes off to the Paralympic Games next week, where a Rainworth boccia coach will also be officiating.

The County Council is supporting six Paralympians through its Shining Stars fund. The athletes each receive £2,012 annually to assist with training and transport costs.

Among the Shining Star athletes to compete at London 2012 are swimmers Charlotte Henshaw, from Mansfield, and Kirkby’s Ollie Hynd, who represent Nova Centurion Swimming Club.

Ollie’s brother Sam will also be competing in the pool at London.

Coun John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Congratulations to all of our Shining Stars who have been selected for the Paralympic Games at London 2012 for their fantastic achievement – the Paralympics are almost upon us and we wish them all well as they are very inspirational.”

Meanwhile, two Nottinghamshire County Council workers are preparing to travel to London next week having been selected as national officials for arguably the most accessible sport at London 2012.

County Hall sports development officer Pete Edwards and equality officer Maggie Else will be National Technical Officials for Boccia at London 2012 and will take part in activities such as line judging and timing.

Boccia has been a Paralympic sport since 1984, and can be played at an elite level by people with some of the most testing disabilities.

Boccia players, who compete individually or in teams, throw leather balls (either red or blue) as close as they can to a white jack target ball to get as close to the jack as possible to win the game. Players with severe disabilities use a ramp as an assistive device.

Pete (57), said: “We are looking forward to it and so proud that Boccia will be on the world stage as we take part in officiating at these games. It is the icing on the cake for us to be taking part in officiating and helps promote the sport widely to others.”

Pete, coaches Boccia at Rainworth Leisure Centre each week and volunteers many hours to the sport which he first got involved in more than 25 years ago.

Maggie, works in equality at County Hall, and is a Director of Boccia England, a national charity and the governing body of the sport whose headquarters are in Nottingham. She said: “It will be an honour to be involved in officiating at the Paralympics and I am looking forward to it.”