Family of boy, 11, with cerebral palsy praise 'fantastic' frame football
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
For much of his life, Haverhill youngster Aiden Thomas has lived with the unfairness of being told that his disability means he cannot do some of the things other children can do.
But now, football sessions designed especially for disabled children are giving him and others a new lease of life - by allowing them to play the beautiful game as any other young person would.
Physiotherapist and registered nurse Eoin McNamee saw that although games of football in the park are part of growing up for many children, it often is not possible for those with a disability.
Becoming an FA-certified frame football coach, the advanced critical care practitioner for East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) previously helped to run classes in Basildon.
Having recently moved to Ipswich from Colchester, he is setting up regular sessions in the town for children across Suffolk - with free taster events beginning at the Coplestonians FC pitch at Copleston High School this weekend.
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"These kids get a lot of 'no, you can't'," Mr McNamee said.
"This is just about letting them turn up and kick a football.
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"There is a massive reward in terms of the social benefit for them. Parents get a massive relief as well."
Castle Manor Academy pupil Aiden, 11, who has cerebral palsy, will be one of those to benefit. He has already been taking part in the sessions in Basildon.
His mother Vicky said: "Frame football is fantastic for Aiden's physical and cardiovascular fitness.
"He gets to run around. It's brilliant for him, as he's one of the team and it's a level playing field - he can keep up with the other kids.
"The boys all get on together really well and understand what each other is going through. He absolutely loves it, he really does.
"Aiden has always been quite sporty but sometimes things have been difficult for him.
"We're seeing his confidence grow. These children get told they can't or won't be able to do a lot of things, but to actually be able to do this really well is lovely for them."