Gold medal Special Olympian visits No. 10

MEDAL WINNERS: Ellen with her teammates in Downing Street

A HOCKEY player from Tunbridge Wells was invited to Downing Street by the Prime Minister in recognition of her achieving gold for Great Britain at the 2023 Special Olympic World Games in June.

Ellen Greenall and members of the GB Hockey Team attended a celebratory garden party at 10 Downing Street to recognise their fantastic achievement.

The afternoon was attended by volunteers, support staff, corporate sponsors, families, and the Team Special Olympic GB athletes who won a staggering 137 medals and 47 ribbons at the Games, which were held in Berlin.

The team had the chance to meet Lord Stephen Parkinson of Whitley Bay, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, as well as Helen Cook, the Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit.

Ellen who has epilepsy, autism, a learning disability and is partially sighted, enjoyed the afternoon with her team.

She said: “I was lucky enough to go to 10 Downing Street with my hockey team and lots of other Special Olympics athletes.

“We had a BBQ in the garden and met a minister for sport who was very impressed with our medals.”

Ellen has been a member of the Flyerz section of the Tunbridge Wells Hockey Team since 2018, which allows those with physical and learning disabilities the opportunity to get involved in sport.

In Berlin, Ellen played centre-stage as a midfielder for the GB hockey side who beat Bulgaria in a heated final, which ended 4-2 to Great Britain.

Ellen’s mum, Michelle Greenall, who went with the team to London said: “The staff at number 10 were very welcoming and interested in the athletes and their achievements.

“Let’s hope this is the start of more recognition for those with intellectual disabilities who want to be given the opportunity to play an equal role in sport and society.”

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “The strength and ability of these athletes is inspiring, and I am proud that No.10 hosted Team GB as we celebrate their incredible success at the recent Special Olympics World Games in Berlin.

“Sport is one of the best ways to bring people together, breaking down barriers to opportunity, building relationships and growing confidence, and the work of the Special Olympics Committee and Special Olympics GB is making a huge difference.”

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