Eastbourne All Stars to help boy’s football dream

Henry Walker
Henry Walker

The family of a sports-mad disabled boy have launched an appeal to the public in Eastbourne to help the youngster’s football dream come true.

Little Henry Walker, who is five, has cerebral palsy, which means he has to walk with a frame.

The youngster has an 11-year-old brother called Johnny, who plays football four times a week for All Stars Sussex in Eastbourne but is desperate to play football himself.

Patsy Walker, Henry’s grandmother, said: “Anthony Storey, who runs All Stars at the Causeway School, is kindly helping Henry to realise his dream.

“He will coach frame football on a Saturday morning for boys and girls on walkers.

“Henry can’t play on his own so we are looking for other children in the Hastings and Eastbourne area who would come to Eastbourne on a Saturday morning for training.”

Patsy added her grandson, who attends Robsack Wood Primary Academy, has wanted to play football since he was three.

She said: “Henry did start training with Little Common Football Club and the club was very good with him but training fell on the wrong day so he couldn’t take part anymore.”

Henry’s mother, Sarah, who lives in Hastings, said: “When Henry’s older brother started playing football he wanted to join in with him so we took him to Little Common Football Club a few times for training sessions with his dad, as his father is a former football coach.

“We need another nine or 10 disabled children to play frame football with Henry at All Stars in Eastbourne so he can take part.

“This has been in the pipeline for a while but it’s just so difficult getting the people to be able to do this.

“I have a son who wants to play football so badly but is unable to with able-bodied children. We want to help make his dream come true.”

Henry has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that usually appears in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects muscle control and coordination. Affected people have increased muscle tone which leads to stiff or tight muscles in the legs. The arm muscles are generally less affected or not affected at all.

Frame football, or cerebral palsy football (CP), is already gaining recognition as an inclusive adapted sport.

The national sports organisation for people with cerebral palsy is CP Sport. It works closely with the Football Association (FA) and various other organisations and clubs, to run football days and training events for CP footballers. They also have the opportunity to participate at the Paralympics World Games with the Paralympic Great Britain football team.

Anthony, director and coach for All Star Soccer Academy, said: “It would be a great opportunity for Henry to take part.

“We got talking to his family and his older brother has such fantastic talent playing with our academy.

“We are setting up a class once a week for any children interested in playing frame football. Hopefully we’ll be able to get all of the children kitted out and taking part in the game with the other academies.”

Anyone interested in joining Henry can ring his mother, Sarah, on 07958 804822.

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