A new Wheelchair Rugby club will be set up in Penrith after a successful trial. A series of taster sessions have been held in Penrith Leisure Centre, and now Gary Pettit the man behind the venture will be setting up a new club.
As an armed forces veteran, Gary has been supported with the taster sessions by Richie Hinson, the Forces Link Coordinator at Cumbria CVS and Dale Thomson, Regional Development Officer at Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR), the National Governing Body (NGB) for wheelchair rugby. Gary said:
“I used to coach able bodied rugby, but since my accident I am not able to do so. I met Dale when attending some taster sessions at Carlisle. I was at the try-outs for the Invictus Games and saw the taster sessions in Carlisle, so approached him about coaching, they were keen to see the development of wheelchair rugby in Cumbria and eventually a Cumbrian league so I’m fortunate that they will put me through my coaching qualifications. I’d like to give back to the community and introduce as many people as I can to the sport”
Gary joined the Royal Navy in 1989 at the young age of just 16. He was thrown straight in at the deep end with several years active service in the Bosnia conflict followed by the Gulf conflict, where in 1993 he sustained a significant injury to his left knee which progressively got worse until he was medically discharged in February 2000. Earlier this year in-between the try-outs for Invictus Gary underwent a knee replacement operation yet managed to compete in several of the competitions including wheelchair rugby.
“The game is just great, it’s fast paced, and makes me feel truly alive again, it gives me such a boost and it’s helping me count my blessings. I hope that we can involve many more people in the sport”
If you’re interested in taking part, or being involved in the development of the club, please contact Gary Pettit on 07907 910 197 or email [email protected]