Dungeness B employees celebrate National Paralympic Day
EDF Energy employees at Dungeness B have enjoyed a fantastic opportunity to remember the London 2012 Games last week, as they celebrated National Paralympic Day with a wheelchair fencing demonstration.
Friday September 6 saw disabled fencers Vivien Mills and Simon Wilson, who have both medalled at world cup events, teach staff about their sport. The athletes demonstrated the rules of the game and the different types of swords, before playing a few matches between themselves.
Dungeness B has been supporting the British Disabled Fencing Association (BDFA) since June, when the station gave a £3000 grant to the BDFA to help run a series of professional fencing coaching sessions. This came thanks to a sporting legacy fund set up by EDF Energy, which runs Dungeness B, to capture the Olympic spirit after London 2012.
With clashing swords and buzzers sounding to signal a hit, the event was really exciting and gathered a crowd of employees who were eager to ask questions about the rules of the game, and of the athletes themselves.
Jessica Harrabin, 24, HR graduate who lives in Hastings, said: “The Paralympics were great for introducing people to new sports, and this demonstration was a great opportunity to find out more about wheelchair fencing. I hadn’t realised the chairs would be clamped so you can’t wheel away from your opponent's attack. Because they are forced to be so close together it makes the game really fast-paced and brilliant to watch.”
Martin Pearson, Station Director at Dungeness B, said: “I was really pleased that we could offer the fencing demonstration here at Dungeness B as part of EDF Energy’s wider National Paralympic Day activities. It was wonderful to see the sport in action, especially given our existing relationship with the BDFA. I am delighted to hear the coaching programme is doing well and hope it will continue to inspire young athletes.”
Shuna Body is from Romney Marsh and as Chairman of the BDFA had approached the local power station for funding for coaching sessions, which she hopes will increase participation in wheelchair fencing by providing advice on disability, the rules of the sport and guides on how to run inclusive clubs. She also attended on Friday  and is keen to continue to promote the sport locally.
Shuna said: “After the generous grant from EDF Energy earlier this year we have been able to get coaching sessions up and running and teach fencing coaches more about disabled fencing. We had a great session in Maidstone recently. It is great to be able to visit the station and show the employees what wheelchair fencing really is.”
The event in Dungeness was organised to coincide with the British Paralympic Association’s (BPA) first annual National Paralympic Day*, which took place on Saturday September 7. This date marked one year since the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and three years to the day until the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. EDF Energy recently pledged that it would support the BPA for four years, in the lead up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This follows a previous charity partnership that saw EDF Energy and its employees raise more than £650,000 for the BPA between March 2010 and March 2013. Employees from EDF Energy sites nationwide took part in the celebrations last week, which aimed to inspire and challenge people’s attitudes towards disabilities.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, said: “We would like to thank EDF Energy for their continued support of the British Paralympic Association and of our first annual National Paralympic Day. One year on from what was called the ‘greatest ever’ Paralympic Games, National Paralympic Day provided us with an opportunity to showcase once again the talents of our athletes and continue our efforts in promoting disability sport from grass roots to elite level. We hope that the popularity of National Paralympic Day continues to grow.”
EDF was the official electricity supplier of the London 2012 Games and the company ensured that every unit of electricity that was supplied to the Olympic Park was backed by low carbon nuclear and renewable sources.
* National Paralympic Day is a celebration of all things Paralympic across the UK. At the heart of the celebrations is National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is organised by the BPA, the Mayor of London, and the London Legacy Development Corporation.