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L-R: Special Olympics GB Chief Executive Karen Wallin, athletes Beth (athletics) and Luke (basketball) and volunteer Adam Holder
L-R: Special Olympics GB Chief Executive Karen Wallin, athletes Beth (athletics) and Luke (basketball) and volunteer Adam Holder

Special Olympics volunteer search hits halfway point for Sheffield 2017

7 February 2017

A young Sheffield dentist has become the 400th volunteer for this year’s Special Olympics National Games – marking the halfway point of volunteers needed for the event taking place in Sheffield this summer.

Adam Holder, 25, from Stannington, joins postmen, students, butchers, countryside officers and many more professionals who are volunteering. Although he has never volunteered for the Special Olympics before, Adam has been inspired by the atmosphere already being built in the city.

Adam commented: “I’ve been tracking the great work of Special Olympics and their outstanding athletes with learning disabilities since the launch of the Games around 18 months ago. I’m a Sheffield United fan and I saw it advertised and promoted there at Bramall Lane. In addition, my dad works for National Grid and they have been a big supporter of Special Olympics for 10 years.

“I’m also a qualified football referee and junior sports leader so I feel it would be nice to get involved. I was also encouraged to get involved by my boss who is a consultant in special care dentistry in Sheffield.”

This is the second time the event has been held in Sheffield – the first being back in 1993. It is the largest disability sports event of 2017 and entry is free to the public for all sporting action.

The Games will open on Tuesday 8 August with a spectacular opening ceremony at Bramall Lane, and will continue with four days of sport. Around 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities will take part in the 20 sport events across the city including football, athletics, swimming, golf, basketball and tennis.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said: “We’re really excited to be hosting the Special Olympics here in Sheffield: The Outdoor City and can’t wait to welcome all the athletes and their supporters.

“It’s great that so many people have already volunteered to take part in the Games and I hope many more apply. It will be wonderful to see and celebrate the sporting achievements of everyone taking part and I’m sure that the inspirational performances will motivate many people to take up sport and pursue their goals.”

The Special Olympics team are encouraging more people to come on board as soon as possible to reach the target of 800 volunteers. They are also calling out for those many people who have started the volunteer process online and need to complete it in order to become an official volunteer and receive their volunteer kit and training.

Chris Hull of Special Olympics GB said: “Adam’s online registration marks a very exciting and significant milestone in our quest to recruit an enthusiastic and diverse team of volunteers who will be integral to the success of this unique event.

“For many from the South Yorkshire community, this will be their introduction to Special Olympics GB and their first opportunity to meet our athletes and provide the support needed across a range of operational and field of play areas as they compete in 20 different sports – all hoping to achieve their personal bests and be the best they can be in Sheffield.”

“The volunteers will be the main backdrop of the Special Olympics National Games and set the tone each day, in every venue, for great competition, high octane spectator support and a huge celebration of sport played in true Olympic spirit.

“We now move on to the next important phase where volunteer roles are assigned, training is delivered and 800 individuals become one cohesive and very committed team. We can’t wait for the Games to begin in Sheffield!”

If you would like to find out more about volunteering at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games or you would like to complete the online registration, visit www.sheffield2017.org.uk. You can also join in the action on social media using #Sheffield17.