More than 30 athletes in the Special Olympics Eastbourne team, joined together after their training session last week to say goodbye to their Head Coach and Trainer Geoff Martindale who has retired from the group.
Geoff has voluntarily given his knowledge, experience and patience for 14 years, dedicating time every Thursday to coach the athletes at the Sports Park in Eastbourne and accompanying them to athletics meetings across the UK.
He has also been an integral part of the effort which goes into organising and hosting the team’s annual meeting in Eastbourne which can draw up to 200 athletes.
Geoff told the group that he is proud of his involvement and presented each athlete with a medal. He also donated a cup which is to be presented each year to an individual who has particularly shone for effort or achievement.
In its first presentation he awarded the cup to young athlete Georgie Lee who has been learning to coach with mentoring by Geoff.
In turn, the athletes presented Geoff with a framed certificate of appreciation from Special Olympics Great Britain along with a photo book of memories of the past 14 years and thank you cards.
Geoff’s wife, Jackie, received a vase of yellow roses - the group’s colour - in recognition and appreciation of her support over the years.
The afternoon ended with everyone enjoying a cake made especially for the occasion by Cavendish Bakery which helps support the team.
The team is now preparing and training for its annual meeting at Eastbourne Sports Park which will take place on May 1 from 11am.
So far, more than 150 athletes from Special Olympics teams across the south east, south and London regions have confirmed their places.
They will be participating in a range of track and field events, from the 100m to 800m to the standing long jump, shotput and more.
Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Janet Coles and Eastbourne MP, Caroline Ansell will be attending the event.
Aaron Saunders, who has been a trainer with the group, will be taking on the head coach role. Chairman, Leigh Saunders, is appealing for others to volunteer for the team.
Anyone interested is asked to email email@example.com to find out more about the roles available.
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