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Prime Minister to host Special Olympics GB Euro team at Downing Street

No fewer than 35 athletes from the Special Olympics GB team – together with their coaches – will be in attendance at the high-profile, prestigious event at Downing Street.

  • The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are hosting a special reception next Monday (8th September, 11.00 am) at Downing Street to celebrate Special Olympics GB and their athletes heading to Belgium to represent the country at the 2014 European Summer Games.
  • Later in that day (8th September), the Belgian Ambassador to the UK will host a reception for all the athletes in the Special Olympics GB European Summer Games team at 6.00 pm in Belgrave Square, Central London.
  • The following day (Tuesday 9th September) at 9.00 am, the media are also invited to the Special Olympics GB team send off on Eurostar from St Pancras International to Brussels.  Media must bring their passports to this event to gain access to the Eurostar platform.
  • The Special Olympics European Summer Games will commence in Brussels with an Opening Ceremony on 13th September and will continue in Antwerp until the closing ceremony on 20th September 2014.  In total, 49 athletes from Great Britain will be representing their country at this event.
  • In the region of 2,000 athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities from 58 European countries will take part in the following 10 sports events:  Athletics, Artistic Gymnastics, Football, Bocce, Badminton, Unified Basketball, Cycling, Judo, Table Tennis and Swimming.
  • Special Olympics GB is the largest registered charity providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of people with intellectual disabilities across the England, Scotland and Wales.

This is the European showpiece event for Special Olympics – held every four years for the organisation and its athletes.  Almost 1.2 million people in the UK (2% of the population) have an intellectual disability.  If you would like to find out more about Special Olympics GB & their European Summer Games team, please visit our website www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk

Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin said:

"I would like to thank the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for extending this incredibly generous reception to our athletes ahead of this once in a lifetime European Summer Games event for them.”

Special Olympics GB’s athletes will be taken by Eurostar on Tuesday 9th September from St Pancras International to Belgium for the European Summer Games.

Eurostar will provide all return travel and logistical and VIP support for 100 Special Olympics GB athletes, coaches and officials heading to Brussels and then onwards to Antwerp.

Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar’s CEO, said:

"We are proud to be here today to support the great work of the Special Olympics GB team. In our 20 year history we have carried many sporting teams to major events including bringing the French, Belgian and Dutch national teams to London 2012. We look forward to giving the team a special Eurostar send-off from St. Pancras tomorrow as they start their journey to the Games.”

The 35 Special Olympics GB athletes attending the Downing Street Reception – together with their home towns/regions – can be found below.

Cycling:

Daniel Weston (Devon/South West)

David Jackson (Glasgow/Scotland West)

Gary Winslow (Glasgow/Scotland West)

Leanne Peters (Glasgow/Scotland West)

Ruairidh Brown (East Kilbride/Scotland West)

Rosemary Hollingsworth (Bedfordshire/Eastern)

Aquatics:

Adam Meanwell (Lincoln/East Midlands)

Jackie Minchin (Ceredigion/Wales)

Maria Orsi (Arbroath/Tayside)

Charles Culwick (Essex/Eastern)

Natalie Moon (Hull/Yorkshire & Humberside)

Emma Birley (Lockerbie/Dumfries and Galloway)

Anne-Marie Reid (Dundee/Tayside)

Scott Cleaver (Essex/Eastern)

Keiran Neary (Essex/Eastern)

Samuel Pattinson (Gretna/Dumfries & Galloway)

Dylan Thorburn (Fife/Tayside)

Judo:

Thomas Farley (Nr. Rye/Hastings, South East)

Zoe Kane (Aberdeenshire/Grampian)

John Kane (Aberdeenshire/Grampian)

Daniel Amel-Azizpour (Bristol/South West)

Holly Tadman (East Sussex/South East)

Badminton:

Samantha Monk (Wigan/North West)

Catherine Carson (Wigan/North West)

Kerry Duncan (Arbroath/Tayside)

Mark Goulder (Southport/North West)

Athletics:

Niall Finlayson (Stirling/Forth Valley)

Linzi Finnigan (Glasgow/Scotland West), Fleur O’Donohue (Warwickshire/East Midlands), Gary Starkey (Herefordshire/West Midlands), Alicia Bradshaw (Worcestershire/West Midlands).

Table tennis:

Emma Hunt (Wolverhampton/West Midlands)

Jennifer Turner (Shropshire/North West)

George Gibson (Montrose/Tayside)

Gymnastics:

Georgia Carslaw (Glasgow/Scotland West)

Alexander Buesnel (Jersey/Southern)

Ramsay Meiklem (Paisley/Scotland West)

David Rae (Glasgow/Scotland West)

Aaron Bonnar (Jersey/Southern)

James Lang (Jersey/Southern)

Cailiegh Quail (Jersey/ Southern)

Chloe Russell (Jersey/Southern)

Jessica Viera (Jersey/Southern)