Disabled Rugby Festival

Date published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OLDHAM Rugby League players John Clough and Lucas Onyango were the star attraction at a Rugby Festival for the disabled in Eccles.

Organised by Val Wakefield, her 17-year-old son Josh, who plays for Roughyeds’ under-18s, and PE teacher Graham Lunt, the festival involved 130 young people, aged from seven to 20.

Said Val, a teaching assistant who has worked with special needs children for 12 years: “Many people think rugby is just for big men with big muscles, but the festival promotes it for what it is — an inclusive sport for everyone.

“Chris Hamilton (chairman) and the Roughyeds were extremely supportive and the two players who came along, John and Lucas, were brilliant. They fully engaged the students they were working with and they were a credit to the Oldham club.

“They spent a few hours with us and they’ve certainly made some new friends, and new fans.

“Many of those who attended were special needs children with a wide range of disabilities and they loved the way in which John and Lucas talked to them about rugby and involved them in little skill drills.”

A wheelchair rugby team from Bury, coaches from the Bradford Bulls wheelchair rugby team, members of the Salford City Reds development department and players and officials from the Folly Lane amateur rugby league club were also at the festival, held at Wentworth High School, Eccles.