Ledbury’s Glynn Lloyd will be flying the flag for Gloucestershire and going for gold in Leicester, when he competes in the British Polio Fellowship National Indoor Games at the Leicester Marriott Hotel (22-24 March). Representing the Western Region at Boccia, 66 year old Glynn will take his place in the squad, competing with around 140 members of The British Polio Fellowship who have made it through to the finals in a range of disciplines from around the regions. Having contracted Polio during the last epidemic in the UK in the 40’s and a member of the British Polio Fellowship since the age of 5, Glynn is hoping to be a champion as he has been many times in the past.Driven by his disability to excel at all things, Glynn has always found sport a key outlet and is one of those rare people good at many different sports. He is the current national snooker champion, but he only took up snooker when age combined with the effects of Polio on his health made carrying on with Table Tennis a problem. Modestly, Glynn does not always reveal that he held an England ranking at Table Tennis, such was his skill and given his Polio, is one of the few people given permission by the British Table Tennis Association to play with one hand on the table.
Anyone in Western England who may have been affected by the impact of Polio or PPS, either individually or indirectly through friends and family can call The British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935.
Having qualified from their regional heats in one of the 9 regions of the country, comprising East Midlands; Scotland; Home Counties; North of England; North West; South of England; Wales; Western; and Yorkshire, participants will compete for a range of medals. 10 individual games will be played: Kurling; Bowls; Darts (standing); Darts (sitting); Boccia; Draughts; Cribbage; Dominoes; 5s and 3s; and Scrabble, with medals up for grabs in all categories, competition is extremely fierce.“Like many people facing a disability, you handle it in different ways,” explained Glynn. “I was determined to do well; show off, if you like! Work is one area I looked to do this before I retired, but sport was an obvious area where you could prove yourself and I was very keen to do that.”
“While I am retired, I like to keep active,” said Glynn. “I still play in the Gloucester League for Snooker (off a -10 handicap) and Table Tennis and while I have played Bowls at the National Indoor Games in the past (Glynn won last year!), I like all sports and I decided to give someone else a chance from our region to do Bowls and try my hand at Boccia this year instead.”In attendance and lending his support to the participants at Leicester will be paralympian and London 2012 medal winner James Crisp, a keen ambassador for The British Polio Fellowship. Having contracted Polio as a baby, this led to James eventually losing the use of his left leg. Having experienced this muscle wastage from such an early age James has always managed his lifestyle around his disability and like Glynn, hasn’t let it hold him back from achieving his dreams.
James Crisp said: “Contracting Polio was obviously a traumatic experience for my parents but one which I was luckily too young to really understand at the time. However, it has made me the person I am today and it’s the reason I am part of the British Paralympics Squad.
“I am a keen supporter of The British Polio Fellowship; working to raise money for the charity through my sponsors and supporters, in order to help others like me achieve their dreams and make the most of their abilities, not focus on their disabilities. The Indoor Games is a unique opportunity for those with Polio and PPSto come together for the weekend from all over the country, keep the Olympic and Paralympic spirit alive and try and fulfil their dreams of achievement.”
Ted Hill, Chief Executive of the British Polio Fellowship, said: “It must be remembered that many of our members who have made it through to the national finals were strong competitors in many sports when they were younger, many having represented their region and country in the original British Polio Games which included track and field and swimming.
“PPS combined with older age means that most of our members can no longer compete in the more athletic sports and games, so the Indoor Games was born as a way of ensuring our members still had a national forum in which to compete and socialise.”
Whilst the level of competition is still incredibly intense and people are clearly ‘playing to win’, equally as important to those with Polio and PPS is the opportunity to catch up with old friends, swop notes about latest treatments and share experiences found to help with day to day living.