Tony Larkin joins British Blind Sport as Patron
Tony Larkin, a former English professional footballer, has become a Patron for British Blind Sport- the leading voice for the blind and partially sighted community across the UK in sport and recreation. With a career spanning fifteen years, he made over 450 professional appearances for teams including Wrexham, Shrewsbury Town, Carlisle and Hereford United. At Shrewsbury he first became involved with the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford.
After doing some voluntary work there he was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the students that he returned to RNC to coach sports after finishing his playing career at Hereford United. He then qualified as a mobility instructor and blind football coach, and now runs training sessions for other coaches from around the United Kingdom and abroad.
Under his stewardship the England squad qualified as Great Britain's entry for the 2008 Paralympic Games after finishing runners-up to Spain in the European Championships in 2006. Tony has also led them to eight European Championships, four World Championships and one World Games. Most recently as Head Coach, Tony led the Paralympic GB Blind Football squad into the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Tony was instrumental in helping to establish the United Kingdom's first Blind Football Academy for visually impaired players, based at RNC. He currently holds the position of Director of Business Development at the College and is working - with the endorsement of BBS - to extend the Blind Football Academy into a full Sports Academy for the blind and visually impaired.
Tony says: “It is an honour to be a patron to British Blind Sport. The success of the Paralympics has thrown out a challenge to BBS and to all of us as a society to build on the legacy and drive real change for blind and partially sighted people in sport.”
Alaina MacGregor, BBS Chief Executive Officer said:
“Tony brings with him a wealth of experience of working with visually impaired athletes, from grassroots level to leading our Paralympic GB Blind Football squad in the 2008 and 2012 Games. Under Tony’s leadership, blind football has grown phenomenally in the UK and what he doesn’t know about the game, quite frankly isn’t worth knowing. His passion for using sport as the mechanism to enhance the lives of visually impaired people stems way beyond football and as a result, I have no doubt in my mind that he will be a great ambassador for the charity as well as a valuable asset to our team and the work we do”.
Tony joins Noel Thatcher MBE and Sally Gunnell OBE as patrons of British Blind Sport.
For further information: please contact Alaina MacGregor (BBS) on 01926 424247 or Katrina Wilcox (RNC) on 01432 376622
To find out more about British Blind Sport, please visit their website